NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed the presence of water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. In a statement, the American space agency has said this discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. On Monday, a scientist from NASA had said though the moon lacks the bodies of liquid water that are a hallmark of Earth, the lunar water is more widespread than previously known, with water molecules trapped within mineral grains on the surface and more water is perhaps hidden in ice patches residing in permanent shadows.
A team led by Casey Honniball of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland detected molecular water on the lunar surface, trapped within natural glasses or between debris grains.
The SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere.
Previous observations of the Moon's surface detected some form of hydrogen but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH).
"Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million - roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water - trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface. The results are published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy," the statement read.
(With inputs from ANI)