Hidden from direct sunlightlunar craters located in the coldest polar regions of our natural satellite, there are reserves of water ice. In the future, the lunar colonists will be able to use it to maintain the lunar settlements. The final confirmation of ice on the moon is reported in an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Data on the presence of ice on the moon was collected fromwith the help of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) mineral cartographer developed by the NASA aerospace agency installed on the Indian satellite Chandrayaan-1. The data was analyzed by scientists from Brown University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of California, the Johns Hopkins University, and the specialists from the Ames Research Center (NASA).
That there are shadows on the moon"Pockets" with ice, the so-called "cold traps", protected from direct rays of sunlight, astronomers have long suspected. Previous data obtained from lunar orbital vehicles indicated such a possibility. However, NASA noted that this is "the first time scientists have been able to obtain convincing and direct evidence of its presence."
Probe "Chandrayaan-1" Indian spaceAgency (ISRO) was launched to the satellite of our planet in 2008. Its main purpose was to seek confirmation of the presence of solid ice on the lunar surface. A PNAS magazine article reports that the scientific instrument M3 of the probe, developed at NASA, was still able to determine the reflective properties of ice on the lunar surface. In addition, the device was also able to directly determine the particular way in which ice molecules absorbed infrared radiation, which allows to distinguish between water in the liquid or gaseous state and solid ice.
"Most of the ice is in the shadow of the cratersnear the poles, where the temperature does not rise above -250 degrees Fahrenheit (-156.5 degrees Celsius). Sunlight never enters these parts of the surface due to the slight inclination of the axis of rotation of the moon, ”say scientists who analyzed the data.
Map of the North and South Poles of the Moon, which shows the presence of water ice
Researchers also note that mostThe detected ice reserves are mainly concentrated at the South Pole of the Moon, and at the North Pole these reserves are much smaller. The probe could not determine at what depth the ice is located, however, the study states that on the surface of the satellite, in the regions hidden by shadow, the polar regions can contain up to about 3.5 percent of the total ice accumulated on the satellite.
According to scientists, before relying on theseice stocks in the satellite colonization missions, we need to send several autonomous lunar rovers there and find out the actual volumes of the reserves and their location on or under the surface.
Having ice on the moon doesn't just mean havingsource of drinking water for future satellite colonizers. It also means the possibility of processing water into fuel. Splitting water into atoms and producing oxygen and hydrogen from it, the future inhabitants of the Moon will be able to produce fuel that can be used to further conquer the solar system.
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