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Using a NASA instrument aboard the Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe, scientists have discovered evidence of indigenous water on the moon.
The Chandrayaan-1, which only last 312 days of its two year mission, has NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper onboard and researchers were able to use it to see an abundance of hydroxyl in a crater, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hydroxyl is water trapped in a chemically stunted form.
Scientists chose to study the Bullialdus crater in the Mare Nubium, which was likely created by a major impact. The hydroxyl is seen as coming from below the moon’s surface rather than from solar wind, which can create tiny layers of water molecules across the surface.
The discovery is the first time “magnetic water” has been detected, notes Space.com and confirms previously done analyses on rocks brought from the moon back during the Apollo mission.
Lead study author, Rachel Klima, said in a statement, “Now that we have detected water that is likely from the interior of the moon, we can start to compare this water with other characteristics of the lunar surface.”
Klima also mentioned the Bullialdus crater saying, “Compared to its surroundings, we found that the central portion of this crater contains a significant amount of hydroxyl – a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom – which is evidence that the rocks in this crater contain water that originated beneath the lunar surface.”
image: Wikimedia Commons