NASA reports finding water on Moon’s lunar surface


For the first time ever, water has been discovered on the sunlit surface of the Moon.

The water was detected by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) on Clavius Crater, one of the Moon’s largest craters visible from Earth.

Although it was the first time water was discovered in a portion of the moon that was not cold and shadowy, it was still very little, about 1 percent the amount found in the Sahara desert.

“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

In a release, NASA said it was “eager to learn all it can about the presence of water on the Moon” prior to sending the next group of astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024.

NASA said several forces could have been at play in creating or delivering the water including micrometeorites raining onto the Moon’s surface or the Sun’s solar wind bringing hydrogen to react with the oxygen-bearing minerals in the soil.

SOFIA will continue to look for water in sunlit locations in follow-up flights.

“Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers,” said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. “If we can use the resources at the Moon, then we can carry less water and more equipment to help enable new scientific discoveries.”