NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a spacecraft launched in 2009 with the goal of helping humans get back to the moon, has returned new images depicting regions of the moon that have more water than previously thought (via Time).
Images produced by the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) show permanently shadowed regions, or PSRs, that contain water in the form of pure ice crystals.
“Our results suggest there could be as much as 1 to 2 per cent water frost in some permanently shadowed soils,” said Randy Gladstone from the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division (via Science Daily).”This is unexpected because naturally occurring interplanetary Lyman-alpha was thought to destroy any water frost before it could accumulate.”
The presence of water frost in dark craters of the Moon’s southern and northern poles means scientists are one step closer to a future Moon base since “knowing that there would be a steady supply on hand for drinking, raising food in greenhouses and even manufacturing rocket fuel,” would be a perquisite for lunar travel, according to Jeffrey Kluger of Time.
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