CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The moon’s shadowed, frigid nooks and crannies may hold frozen water in more places and in larger quantities than previously suspected.
And for the first time, the presence of water on the moon’s sunlit surface has been confirmed, scientists reported Monday.
That’s good news for astronauts at future lunar bases who could tap into these resources for drinking and making rocket fuel.
While previous observations have indicated millions of tons of ice in the permanently shadowed craters of the moon’s poles, a pair of studies in the journal Nature Astronomy take the availability of lunar surface water to a new level.
More than 15,400 square miles (40,000 square kilometers) of lunar terrain have the capability to trap water in the form of ice, according to a team led by the University of Colorado’s Paul Hayne. That’s 20% more area than previous estimates, he said.