NASA announced on Monday that a high amount of water could be found on the bright side of the Moon in the form of ice water covered in a fine layer of dust, which protects them from solar radiation.
The discovery is quite impressive, as previous research inferred that the presence of water was limited to the polar regions. NASA mentioned that data collected with the help of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) confirmed the discovery, which is quite important for the future of space exploration.
Race for the Moon
The presence of a substantial amount of water on the Moon is an important factor in the quest to explore it. Humans will now have the option to establish permanent bases across a considerably larger area, and more companies and organizations will have the option to go to the Moon and establish their own bases.
Companies like SpaceX and space agencies from the US, Europe, and China have already announced that they are planning to construct permanent outposts of the Moon, as such ventures will offer a better starting point for future missions that involve distant targets.
Water is a key resource since it plays an important role in a large number of tasks, besides being essential for the existence of life. Astronauts who land on the Moon could extract the water and filter it for drinking purposes and to create oxygen, two vital functions that are needed for any space colony.
The ability to produce fuel is also important in the case of a lunar base since shipping it from Earth would take time, impose additional risks, and can become quite expensive in the long run. SpaceX’s Starship works with liquid oxygen and methane, which can be made by astronauts with carbon dioxide and water.
However, more research is needed before the lunar bases can be established.