A new research published in the Nature Geoscience claims that the moon might hide much more quantities of water on the surface than it was previously believed. The research was conducted by three scientists: Lior Rubanenko, Jaahnavee Venkatraman and David Paige. The team has previously examined Mercury and its ice water deposits from the surface of the planet. By comparing the two, Mercury and the Moon, the team believes that there are many similarities between them.
Mercury and the Moon’s similarities
The first data on the ice on Mercury was gathered with the help of Arecibo Observatory, a radio telescope in Puerto Rico part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC). They also used data transmitted by Messenger (the bacronym of Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging), a NASA space probe that studied the planet Mercury for 4 years.
Messenger discovered that the polar regions of the planet was crisscrossed with craters that were obscured from our home planet. These darkened craters contained accumulations of ice that are very thick. All that ice would produce water and ice vapors because of the heat from the Sun as Mercury is the first planet in our Solar System. Because the ice was in the craters, the sunlight is not able to melt it.
Therefore, the researchers took all this data and compared it with the Moon. As the two celestial bodies have the same thermal environments, the information might be used for Earth’s satellite. Just like Mercury, the Moon also has craters that are obscured from the sunlight and that matter can be found in them. As Mercury had ice, the scientists believed that the Moon had ice too. This is why they examined 2,000 craters on Mercury and 12,000 craters on the Moon.
By comparing the information of the craters, the team came to the conclusion that the matter that exists in the Moon’s craters can very well be ice. If their assumptions prove to be true, thier discovery would mean that the Moon has a greater quantity of ice than we all thought.
The next thing to do is to confirm the theory and see how that can help us in the future missions in space.