As the Moon unfolds itself in front of our eyes, we wonder: what secrets does it hide?
Recent research by NASA claims that the ‘roughness’ of our planetary neighbor, and its shadows, could actually hide something unexpected: water ice!
As intriguing as that might sound, it’s not the first time scientists examined the Moon’s surface, searching for water.
Here is what you need to know.
Water on the Moon: What Are the Chances?
The Moon seems to have water, and scientists can’t really understand how’s that possible.
Considering the Moon’s conditions, no atmosphere, and some temperatures hot enough to boil water, the chances are pretty low. For instance, water would boil once the Sun warmed it up.
However, despite that debate, research has shown somehow that there is water on the Moon’s surface, but only on the dayside.
“[…] spacecraft detected the possible presence of water on the dayside surface of the Moon, and this was confirmed by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) in 2020,” explained astrophysicist Bjorn Davidsson.
Locked up water
Scientists assumed that the water is all locked up in rock or glass made by meteorite strikes (the famous Moon holes). And this statement is indeed a solid theory, but it is only half of the story.
For the new study, Davidsson and his colleague, Sona Hosseini, used data from Apollo missions to update their model and create the Moon’s surface much rougher. What they discovered is genuinely intriguing.
The researchers found that the roughness made some shadows that let the model Moon keep water, letting it move freely around as the day warms up and cools down later.
“The model of the surface temperature of the Moon described in this paper has significant implications for understanding the presence and ecolution of water on the lunar surface.”
More research will soon follow to probe other things out.