NASA has just made a revolutionary discovery. On October 26, 2020, the US space agency confirmed in an official statement the presence of water on the lunar surface at the South Pole in an area exposed to sunlight.
Moon water in the southern hemisphere
We already knew that water in the form of ice could possibly exist in the northern hemisphere of the moon. What is new today is the confirmation in the form of observational data provided by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Researchers can claim that there is water in the form of ice in the Clavius crater in the southern hemisphere of the moon. An area bathed in sunlight.
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The next mission to the moon, the Artemis program, which aims to send people to the moon in 2024, is taking place at the moon’s south pole, where we now know that ice is hidden in craters. NASA also confirms another hypothesis: moon water doesn’t seem to be very abundant. The simple fact that it took so long to verify its presence proves it. To put things into context, NASA emphasizes: “The Sahara desert contains 100 times more water than SOFIA was able to detect”.
An essential resource for the future lunar base
During the next lunar mission, NASA will use VIPER, a rover that is precisely designed to track the icy water present on the moon. This machine is called the VIPER for volatile materials investigating the Polar Exploration Rover. It’s about the size of a golf car and is expected to land on the lunar surface in 2022. As you can imagine, the role of VIPER will be critically important in the future of space exploration. The vehicle is supposed to explore the south pole of the satellite and find ice water there.
The researchers are intrigued by the fact that ice water can exist on a surface that is particularly exposed to the sun. They state that this phenomenon deserves further investigation there. Scientists want to understand how water gets there and how it holds it. There is no doubt that this discovery will be an integral part of the history of space exploration.
NASA sees the moon as a future space base from which to conduct research and potentially reach more distant destinations, including Mars. This discovery confirms the American space agency in the implementation of their plans, since water is the basis for human survival, but can also enable the production of fuel for future launches.