NASA discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. The discovery, made using Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), shows that water on the moon can be distributed across the lunar surface, not just in cold shadowed places, the agency has highlighted.
On October 26, 2020, NASA confirmed detecting water molecules in Clavius Crater, on the sunlit surface of the Moon, in its southern hemisphere. While hydrogen has previously already been detected on the Moon, until now it was unknown where the previously discovered molecules were those of water (H2O) or hydroxyl (OH), the agency explained in a press statement.
“Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface,” the statement reads. “As a comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. Despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface.”
On October 21, 2020, NASA said that October 26 will see an exciting announcement of the Moon-related discovery. While the agency kept the nature of the announcement secret, clues that it would be related to water emerged nevertheless.