More reports on: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA mapper confirms presence of water on moon news
28 August 2013

The US space exploration agency NASA today announced that data from its Moon Mineralogy Mapper show there is ''water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface''.

The NASA-funded scientists have thus confirmed earlier findings of water on the moon's surface.

The M3, as the mapper is called, detected water for the first time from lunar orbit. Locked in mineral grains, this magmatic water is thought to have originated from an unknown source deep below the surface of the moon.

According to researchers, the findings confirm recent analysis on rock extracted from the moon during the Apollo programme.

''Now that we have detected water that is likely from the interior of the moon, we can start to compare this water with other characteristics of the lunar surface,'' study lead author Rachel Klima said in a statement.

''This internal magmatic water also provides clues about the moon's volcanic processes and internal composition, which helps us address questions about how the moon formed, and how magmatic processes changed as it cooled.''

The detection of internal water from orbit will also allow scientists to test findings from the so-called 'dark side of the moon', far from where the Apollo spaceships landed four decades ago. Researchers had formerly believed that the rocks from the moon were bone dry and any water detected in the Apollo samples must have been due to contamination from Earth.

''In 2009, M3 provided the first mineralogical map of the lunar surface and discovered water molecules in the polar regions of the moon. This water is thought to be a thin layer formed from solar wind hitting the moon's surface. Bullialdus crater is in a region with an unfavourable environment for solar wind to produce significant amounts of water on the surface,'' the NASA statement said.

This new water finding is important because it shows that there must be water trapped under the surface of the moon and not just that thin layer caused by solar winds.

"Now that we have detected water that is likely from the interior of the moon, we can start to compare this water with other characteristics of the lunar surface," said Klima.

"This internal magmatic water also provides clues about the moon's volcanic processes and internal composition, which help us address questions about how the moon formed, and how magmatic processes changed as it cooled."





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NASA mapper confirms presence of water on moon