Thursday, June 24, 2010
(Reuters) - There is far more water on the moon than just about anyone thought and it is likely widespread deep under its surface, according to a report released on Monday.
Recent moon missions have shown frozen water in shadowed craters on the moon's surface, and ice under the gray dust. It could have been carried there by bits of comets as asteroids hitting the surface, however.
But a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows there is much more water on the moon than that -- findings important for future moon missions.
"Water may be ubiquitous within the lunar interior," the researchers concluded in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"For over 40 years we thought the moon was dry," said Francis McCubbin of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who led the study.
"We found that the minimum water content ranged from 64 parts per billion to 5 parts per million -- at least two orders of magnitude greater than previous results."
The water is not immediately accessible -- it is incorporated in the rocky interior of the moon, according to the report, published here