For the first time in history, NASA has discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon, something the agency has long suspected but never managed to confirm. Previous to this discovery, it was only known that ice existed on certain permanently shadowed parts of the Moon, making this observation from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) even more groundbreaking.
The water was found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest observable craters on the Moon’s surface. The amount discovered is roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water, which is trapped inside a cubic meter of soil. For comparison, NASA says the Sahara desert has 100 times more water than what was found by SOFIA, though NASA maintains that the discovery raises many important questions despite its small amount.
“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, NASA’s director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”
“Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers,” added chief exploration scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Jacob Bleacher. “If we can use the resources at the Moon, then we can carry less water and more equipment to help enable new scientific discoveries.”
In other tech-related news, a U.S. judge has refused to overturn her block on the WeChat ban from the Commerce Department.