Aerospace

NASA Discovers Water on Moon's Surface

NASA ’s telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), has confirmed a first: water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft and enables astronomers to study the solar system in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes. SOFIA detected water molecules in Clavius Crater, which is located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million (about the equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water) trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface. Comparatively, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what was detected. Despite the very small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh lunar surface.