First global map of water on Moon created


Scientists from Brown University in US have created the first map of water trapped in the uppermost layer of the Moon’s soil. Scientist used a new calibration of data taken from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper onboard of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The Map builds on the initial discovery in 2009 of water and a related molecule hydroxyl, which consists of one atom each of hydrogen and oxygen in the lunar soil.

Water on Moon

The signature of water is present nearly everywhere on the lunar surface. The amount of water increases toward the poles and does not show significant difference among distinct compositional terrains. The water concentration reaches a maximum average of around 500 to 750 parts per million in the higher latitudes. That is less than what is found in the sands of Earth’s driest deserts. Its concentration gradually decreases toward the equator. That pattern is consistent with implantation via solar wind, the constant bombardment of protons from the Sun, which can form hydroxyl and molecular water once emplaced. The concentration of water changes over the course of the lunar day at latitudes lower than 60 degrees, going from wetter in the early morning and evening to nearly bone dry around lunar noon. The fluctuation can be as much as 200 parts per million.