Map marks water on the moon!
When you look up at the moon at night, it can be hard to imagine there’s anything much up there. Dry, dusty and without any trees, plants or animals, the moon isn’t somewhere you’d like to spend a lot of time.
However, the earth’s satellite might not be as barren as you thought. Scientists have recently had a closer look at the moon and they’ve discovered that the basic building blocks of water can be found there. What exactly this could mean for life on the moon isn’t yet clear, but it’s an exciting step for science and for our understanding of the moon.
Mapping water on the moon
To create the water map, scientists took data collected by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an imaging spectrometer onboard the Chandrayaan1 probe. The probe provided information on concentrations of hydroxyl on the Moon’s surface. This water-like molecule, which is made up of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom, has helped the scientists to locate areas on the Moon where water is potentially at its densest.
What does the map tell us?
The water map that the scientists have created tells us that the Moon is a lot drier than Earth. In fact, you’d struggle to find a decent glass of water to drink anywhere on the satellite’s surface. At the top and bottom of the moon –also known as the poles – things are drier still with many areas seeing less rainfall than the driest places on Earth. However, near the centre of the moon, there’s a little more water and scientists have already started thinking of ways for astronauts to extract it next time they land on the surface.
The data released by the scientists also revealed that the amount of water on the moon’s surface varies throughout the day. In the morning, the concentration of hydroxyl is at its highest, this slowly decreases throughout the day until the evening when the surface is at its driest.
However, as the Moon Mineralogy Mapper can only see the top one millimetre of the satellite’s surface, there’s no telling what may be underneath. There’s a chance that, under all that dry, dusty rock, there are reservoirs of H2O just waiting to be discovered.
Back down to Earth
Luckily for us, water is a lot more plentiful on Earth. Every minute of every day, one billion tons of rainwater falls around the world, topping up our supplies of H2O and ensuring we all have plenty of water to keep us hydrated.
Find out more about the wonders of water and the importance of hydration by looking around our site or contact a member of our team today.