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Studies Confirm Longstanding Theory That There’s Water On The Moon. Why Does It Matter?




Full Snow Moon Approaches: A few days before the full snow moon of 2013, as viewed from Goleta, CA.
Full Snow Moon Approaches: A few days before the full snow moon of 2013, as viewed from Goleta, CA.
Photo by Glenn Beltz via Flickr Creative Commons

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Two different teams, each consisting of a network of scientists from all across the globe, had their studies published Monday in peer-reviewed journal Nature Astronomy. Their work, although differing in methodology, led both teams to confirm that there is water on the moon.

Scientists with the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Anatomy, better known as SOFIA, used three independent spacecraft to detect “widespread hydration” on the lunar surface. A second study simultaneously found evidence of water on shadowed regions near the moon’s poles. However, these molecules are trapped in ice due to extreme temperatures.

According to the Washington Post, launching water to space costs thousands of dollars per gallon, and future explorers may be able to use lunar water not only to quench their own thirst but to refuel their rockets.

We’ll discuss the findings with members of both teams, as well as their significance in the fields of astronomy and space exploration. Questions? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Bethany L. Ehlmann, professor of planetary science at Caltech and associate director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies; she tweets @bethanyehlmann

Paul Hayne,  co-author of study ‘Micro cold traps on the Moon’ and assistant professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder; he tweets @phayne