Scientists with the help of a Telescope on a Boing 747SP Airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have discovered water on Moon. NASA released details of this discovery in release No: 20-105 on 26th of October 2020.
At SOFIA, the scientists found water on the sunlit surface of moon for the first time. SOFIA enables the astronomers to study the Solar System and beyond which are impossible using the ground-based telescopes. Clavius Crater is one of the largest Craters visible from Earth in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. It is in this Crater, the molecular water H2O was found.
Until now, It was thought that the presence of water on lunar surface was limited only to the cold and shadowed places. But this latest discovery indicates that it can be across the lunar surface. This is a significant achievement.
Studies on finding water
When Apollo astronauts returned from moon in 1969, it was thought that the Moon is completely dry. The observations until now, detected some form of Hydrogen on Moon. It was not possible to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative Hydroxyl (OH). The data that the scientists analyzed shows water in concentrations of 100 to 412 ppm trapped in 1 cubic meter of soil spread across the surface. This is equivalent to 12 ounce bottle of water.
SOFIA, can fly at an altitude of 45,000 feet. It has a 106inch diameter telescope reaching above 99% of water vapour in Earth’s atmosphere to get a clearer view of Infrared Universe. The Faint Object Infrared Camera For SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST) was able to pick up the signals of Water molecules in the Clavius Crater.
More Reading at: NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon