Native Village Youth and Education News
November, 2009 Volume 4

The Moon Is Surprisingly Wet
By SETH BORENSTEIN|htmlws-main|dl3|link6|
Condensed by Native Village

A map of the north pole of the Moon that shows hydrogen signatures -- possible indications of water in the form of ice or hydrated minerals.

Washington, D.C. The moon isn't the dry dull place it seems. Traces of water lurk in the dirt unseen. 

Three space probes have found traces of water all over the moon, something scientists hadn't expected.

"It's sort of just sticking on the surface," one astronomer said. "We always think of the moon as dead, and this is sort of a dynamic process that's going on."

It's not enough moisture to grow plants, But if processed in mass quantities, it might provide enough drinking water and rocket fuel for future moon-dwellers.

The water comes and goes during the lunar day. It's not a lot of water. If you took a two-liter soda bottle of lunar dirt, you might extract a medicine dropper full of water. If you wanted a drink of water, it would take a baseball diamond's worth of dirt.

"It's (still) is drier than any desert we have here," said astronomer Jessica Sunshine .

The water was spotted by spacecraft that either circled the moon or flew by. All three ships used an instrument that looked at wavelengths of light which determine the presence of water.

This light wavelength was first discovered by an an Indian lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1.

NASA's Deep Impact probe provided the second evidence.

Scientists then looked back at NASA's Cassini probe records and sure enough, when it whizzed by the moon 10 years ago, it had found the same thing.

The chance of three different instruments malfunctioning on three different spaceships is almost zilch, said astronomer Carle Pieters .

"There's just no question that it's there," Pieters said.

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