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Water within moon's interior detected for first time

NASA-funded lunar research has yielded evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface (Image: NASA Identifier: PLAN-PIA00405)

NASA-funded lunar research has yielded evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface (Image: NASA Identifier: PLAN-PIA00405)


Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Monday, September 2, 2013, 7:20 PM - Water found on the moon's surface could lead to the discovery of how the moon was formed, scientists say.

In a new report, published in Nature Geoscience, researcher's say that the water spotted on the moon's surface -- discovered by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft -- originates from deep within the moon's interior. 

"Compared to its surroundings, we found that the central portion of this crater contains a significant amount of hydroxyl - a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom -- which is evidence that the rocks in this crater contain water that originated beneath the lunar surface," said Rachel Klima, a planetary geologist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. 

The discovery represents the first such detection of this type of magmatic water. 

"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 helps us address questions about how the moon formed, and how magmatic processes changed as it cooled." 

With files from NASA

Small amounts of water and hydroxyl (blue) were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles (Image: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS)

Small amounts of water and hydroxyl (blue) were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles (Image: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS)

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