Scientists have discovered a new file and A renewable source of water on the Moon In samples from a Chinese mission to the moon.
Water is found in tiny glass beads in the lunar dirt where violent meteor impacts occur. The beads were only as wide as the bristles, and the water was a tiny fraction of that.
Samples were returned from the moon in 2020, including 32 glass beads randomly selected from lunar dirt from the robotic Chang’e-5 mission.
Mining the water would be challenging, because there are billions to trillions of beads, according to the researchers.
“Yes, it would take lots and lots of glass beads,” Hejiu Hui of Nanjing University, who was involved in the study, told the Associated Press. On the other hand, there are many, many beads on the moon.
The granules can continue to produce water due to the constant streams of hydrogen in the solar wind. The solar wind is a stream of charged particles emitted from the outer part of a star’s atmosphere.
“Water derived from the solar wind is produced through the interaction of solar hydrogen with oxygen on the surface of lunar glass beads,” Sen Hu of the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a co-author of the study, told Reuters.
Hui said more samples will be studied in the future and more work is needed to determine whether water can be extracted by heating the beads.
In addition, scientists need to conduct more studies to find out if the water is safe to drink.
However, Hui said his team’s findings show that “water can be recharged on the surface of the moon…new A water reservoir on the surface of the moon. “
The results were published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Previous studies using samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts have found water in glassy grains formed by lunar volcanism, which could also provide water.
when NASA sends astronauts to the moon – currently scheduled for 2025 – will target the South Pole, where the permanently shadowed craters are believed to be filled with frozen water. The agency plans to announce the names of the astronauts next week; They are the first astronauts on the moon in half a century.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.