Scientists find evidence of hidden water ice on Moon: ‘About 5-8 times larger’ - Hindustan Times
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Scientists find evidence of hidden water ice on Moon: ‘About 5-8 times larger’

May 01, 2024 03:54 PM IST

The study underscores the importance of drilling on the Moon to extract or study this ice for future missions and potential long-term human presence.

In a new study, scientists bring hope for finding more water ice in the polar craters of the Moon. Additionally, the study reveals that there's twice as much water ice in the northern polar region compared to the southern polar region.

ISRO study reveals significant water ice on Moon's poles(Unsplash)
ISRO study reveals significant water ice on Moon's poles(Unsplash)

The study, conducted by scientists from the Space Applications Centre (SAC)/ISRO, along with researchers from IIT Kanpur, University of Southern California, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, indicates that there could be 5 to 8 times more subsurface ice in the first couple of meters compared to what's on the surface, in both the northern and southern poles, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a blogpost on Tuesday.

This finding underscores the importance of drilling on the Moon to extract or study this ice for future missions and potential long-term human presence.

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How did ice come to be on the Moon?

Regarding the ice's origin, the study supports the theory that the main source of subsurface water ice in the lunar poles is the release of gases during volcanic activity in the Imbrian period.

The findings also suggest that the distribution of water ice is probably influenced by volcanic activity in the Mare regions and specific impact crater formations.

How did the research team conduct the study?

The research team used seven instruments, including radar, laser, optical, neutron spectrometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, and thermal radiometer, aboard National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to investigate the origin and distribution of water ice on the Moon.

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What is the importance of the study?

Accurate knowledge of the distribution and depth of water ice occurrence in the lunar poles, as presented in the investigations, is crucial for constraining the uncertainties in selecting future landing and sampling sites for missions aimed at exploring and characterising lunar volatiles, ISRO said.

This result also supports a previous study of SAC, ISRO pointing out the possibility of the presence of water ice in some of the polar craters, utilising polarimetric radar data from the Chandrayaan-2 Dual-frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument.

ALSO READ- Chandrayaan 3's landing site name 'Shiv Shakti' gets IAU recognition

Alongside, the presented comprehensive understanding of the occurrence of water ice in the lunar poles, in this study, is crucial for supporting ISRO’s future in-situ volatile exploration plans on the Moon, the space agency said.

 

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