New Delhi, September 15: With the help of India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists of NASA were able to sketch out a global map of water on the soil of Moon. NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper flew aboard Chandrayaan-1. The study published in the journal Science Advances builds on the initial discovery in 2009 of water and a related molecule — hydroxyl, which consists of one atom each of hydrogen and oxygen — in lunar soil.
The study’s lead author Shuai Li, a Ph.D. student at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, US said water is not limited to the polar regions and is present everywhere in the lunar surface. Li, who is also a post doctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii, further stated that amount of water increases toward the poles and does not show significant difference among distinct compositional terrains.
As per reports, water concentration reaches a maximum average of around 500 to 750 parts per million in the higher latitudes.
Ralph Milliken, Associate Professor at Brown University and study co-author said a discovery of roadmap has been made where water exists on the Moon’s surface, adding,” With this discovery of water and its amount, we might now think of extracting the water for drinking purpose or to produce fuel.”
Although the bulk of the water mapped in this study could be attributed to solar wind, there were exceptions, suggests study. For example, the researchers found higher-than-average concentrations of water in lunar volcanic deposits near the Moon’s equator, where background water in the soil is scarce.
Rather than coming from solar wind, the water in those localised deposits likely comes from deep within the Moon’s mantle and erupted to the surface in lunar magma.
(With Agency Inputs)