Astronomers are always keen to identify signs of water on exo-planets. And it turns out that, at least in our local neighbourhood, it’s everywhere! We knew about Mars, where even more evidence has been detected by Nasa, and about the Saturn moon Enceladus. Now we have confirmation of wide-spread water on the surface of the Moon – related Nasa press release [videos below the fold]. That should make LCROSS’ lunar impact interesting. And here’s an interesting hypothesus
Scientists suspect the water is created in the soil in an interaction with the solar wind, the fast-moving stream of particles that constantly billows away from the Sun. Harsh space radiation triggers a chemical reaction in which oxygen atoms already in the soil acquire hydrogen nuclei to make water molecules and the simpler hydrogen-oxygen (OH) molecule. The amounts are small, say researchers, but boost the notion that astronauts based on the Moon could use it as a resource.
Here’s a JPL News video on the Martian ice.
And from NASAtelevision, a Nasa press conference where participants discuss new science data from the moon collected during national and international space missions.