A lunar meteorite seems to suggest that there may be water ice hidden just below the surface of the Moon. This is because the specimen contains pieces of moganite. Scientists consider that this cannot form without the process of water evaporation.
While specialists have long known that water ice exists at the Moon’s poles, this new discovery may hold great promise for future space exploration missions.
A source of water would significantly increase humanity’s chances of colonizing the lunar surface someday. A team from Tohoku University, the third largest university in Japan, announced the discovery.
Study results are available in a paper in the journal Science Advances.
The Importance of Water Ice on the Moon
Masahiro Kayama, the lead researcher, believes that asteroids or comets may have delivered water to the surface of the Moon more than 3 billion years ago. He considers that water might have covered the lunar surface for a while. However, the water could have then seeped below the lunar surface.
Since the sunrays cannot get below the surface to evaporate the water, this must have remained there. It is Kayama’s belief that a comet then hit the lunar surface and sending the meteorite to crash on Earth.
No one knows how long the meteorite laid in the desert before its discovery 13 years ago. Kayama does not believe that the moganite could have formed after the lunar meteorite reached Earth. He offers its presence in the waterless, dry desert area as an argument against this.
“For the first time, we can prove that there is water ice in the lunar material,” states Kayama.
Scientists say that the discovery of moganite in the meteorite does not prove that water still exists below the lunar surface. On their part, the study team considers that a next step should be the study of more meteorites to see if they also contain moganite.
Also, the researchers point out the need for more studies and exploration of the surface of the Moon. These should be completed before any attempt at colonizing Earth’s natural satellite. Still, this latest discovery could be a good sign of humanity’s chances of someday colonizing, perhaps even living on the Moon.
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