NASA Finds ‘Hopping Liquid’ On Moon’s Floor

NASA recently found more evidence supporting the existence of “hopping liquid” on the surface of the Moon.

The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) measurements helped the scientists see the changes in the lunar hydration. LAMP measures the layer of molecules found on the Moon’s surface to see the changes that transpired through time.

Previously, scientists believed that there was too little water on the Moon and that it could only be found as ice pockets. Water amount on the Moon was also said to be dependent on the time of the day and the location. Scientists saw more water at higher altitude places.

As the temperature on the surface of the Moon increases, water is said to “bounce” around. Previous research suggested that the identified surface water in scattered molecule populations could be found on lunar soil or regolith.

The water molecules remain attached to the regolith when the temperature on the surface increases. They would go from one place to another, searching for the next cold spot that would allow them to stick to the Moon’s weak atmosphere. When the temperature on the surface decreases, the molecules would go back to the surface.

According to Amanda Hendrix, a Planetary Science Institute senior scientist and lead author of the new paper, the existence of lunar water will be critical for future missions because this could cut the costs needed to launch a mission given that they would no longer need to carry or export such resource from Earth. Lunar water would also be useful for humans especially in thermal management or radiation shielding.

Scientists noted that the Moon’s surface water could come from hydrogen ions in the solar wind. The water molecules recorded by LAMP likely accumulated over time on the surface of the Moon instead of “raining” down.

“These results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the moon,” she said. Thanks to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the discovery of the “hopping” liquid can pave the way for more lunar explorations.

Speaking of more space explorations, they may not be far off as Elon Musk’s Crew Dragon just made access to space more possible for humans. The spaceship became the first commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station. If all goes well in the succeeding tests, Musk could be sending more people in space in the near future.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that the mission gives birth to a new generation of space flight. Anne McClain, a NASA astronaut and Expedition 58 crew member on the ISS, echoed this by saying that Crew Dragon marks the opening of the next chapter in space exploration.

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