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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Unexpected Lunar Water Discovered

Easier colonization possible?

Lunar Water Reservoir Discovered in Glass Impact Beads

Tiny glass beads scattered across the Moon may contain enough water to sustain future crewed missions.

By Ryan Whitwam March 28, 2023No humans have set foot on the Moon for more than 50 years, but the coming decade could see multiple crewed landings and the construction of an orbiting lunar station. Harvesting water from the Moon could make a permanent human presence easier to maintain, but where will we find it? A new study from the Chinese Chang’e rover team suggests there might be usable water everywhere on the Moon.

In the past, scientists believed the Moon was just a big ball of dust, but robotic missions eventually confirmed water ice exists in shadowy craters. Water also appears to evaporate from lunar soil when exposed to sunlight. New data from the Chang’e 5 mission reveals the details.

Chang’e 5, which landed on the Moon in 2020, was China's first lunar sample return mission. It sent back 3.7 pounds (1.7 kilograms) of lunar regolith, some collected from a meter below the surface. Throughout the samples, the researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences spotted glass beads resulting from meteorite impacts. The researchers analyzed the chemical composition and structure of the impact glass, finding they can be up to 0.2% water by mass. In absolute terms, the researchers calculate that lunar soil has between 300 billion and 270 trillion kilograms of water locked up in glass beads. If collected in one place, it could fill Lake Tahoe almost twice over at the high end of the estimate.  ... ' 

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