Moon and stars. Photo Credit: Michael Dunning/Getty ImagesTechnology China
There’s Water on the Moon!
Contrary to popular belief that the Moon is devoid of water, the precious liquid has been found in glass beads, a discovery that completely changes our perception of Earth’s natural satellite and the nature of future missions.
“Water is the most sought-after commodity for enabling sustainable exploration of planetary surfaces,” explains Sen Hu, planetary scientist and co-author of the study. “Knowing how water is produced, stored, and replenished near the lunar surface would be very useful for future explorers to extract and utilize it for exploration purposes.”
It has been proven that the Moon is far from dry. In fact, it contains an estimated 270 trillion kilograms of water. When China’s robotic Chang’e 5 mission visited the Moon in 2020, it brought back 117 glass beads that have been studied by scientists affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Moon’s hydrogen comes from the solar winds and its oxygen is trapped in rocks and minerals, making up nearly half the Moon. The impact of tiny meteorites generates heat that melts the surrounding surface material, forming glass beads. The two molecules are stored in beads, acting as a sponge for the molecules. According to the researchers, a sustainable water cycle is possible on the Moon because of the interaction between solar winds and the lunar surface.