NASA has found ice on the sun-lit parts of the moon. Until now, only the presence of ice in the cold far side of the moon was known. For example, the ice can be used as a livelihood for a base.
The ice was found in the Clavius crater, which NASA itself describes as “sunny.” It is located in the southern hemisphere and is visible from Earth. It is unclear how the water gets there: it could have been taken by meteorites or got there by other processes. This is slightly more than a Coke can of water per square meter, according to NASA. However, it does not say how many square meters we have to think in total. The research results are published in the scientific publication Nature.
The water was discovered by NASA’s SOFIA plane, a modified Boeing 747SP with a so-called faint object infrared camera on board. The aircraft flies at an altitude of almost 14 kilometers to position its telescope above 99 percent of the water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere. That produces more reliable results.
NASA wants to use the VIPER mission in 2023 to send a rover to the moon to hunt for water and collect samples from it. Water was first discovered on the moon in 2008, by a spacecraft from India. This was the water at the south pole of the moon, out of reach of humans. However, how much water is present there is not clear.