Washington, March 20 (ANI): If reports are to be believed, the Moon may have bucketloads of water, with a NASA release indicating the amount of water ice detected in the north lunar pole as 600 million metric tons, stashed away in 40 craters.
This new announcement comes hot on the tail of a series of water discoveries on the lunar surface.
According to a report in Discovery News, this latest discovery comes from an instrument that was carried aboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter before it was lost in August, 2009.
NASA's Mini-SAR team found these 40 craters each containing water ice at least 2 meters deep.
"If you converted those craters' water into rocket fuel, you'd have enough fuel to launch the equivalent of one space shuttle per day for more than 2000 years," said Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
The excitement surrounding this discovery is tangible, but Spudis pointed out another intriguing possibility: Does the moon have its own water cycle?
"So far, we've found three types of moonwater," said Spudis.
"We have Mini-SAR's thick lenses of nearly pure crater ice, LCROSS's fluffy mix of ice crystals and dirt, and M-cube's thin layer that comes and goes all across the surface of the Moon," he added.
The moon does appear to contain three different "flavors" of water ice.
Some pure water appears to have been deposited on the lunar surface (perhaps by passing comets).
Some appears to have formed under the surface, mixing with lunar material. And the rest appears to have been formed on the surface through interactions with the solar wind.
Amazingly, these preliminary results indicate that there is also a migration of water from equatorial regions to the lunar poles, pointing to some kind of water cycle.
Scientists are now seriously contemplating a lunar "hydrosphere." (ANI)