NASA plans to send a team of astronauts to our satellite with a mission to build a lunar science base in 2025. This year’s Artemis I mission will be a crucial part of the overall Artemis mission, which includes the dream of building a Moon base.
But in order to build any extraterrestrial space station and go on missions there, humans must first be able to live on that base. And predictably, we need water first to live anywhere.
An article published last month in Scientific Reports offers great news for the next generation of Moon explorers. According to the researchers’ calculations, there may be much more water on the Moon than we expected, and that water may have gone there from our blue planet Earth.
Gunther Kletetschka, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysics Institute and lead author of the study, said: “When NASA’s Artemis team plans to establish a base camp at the Moon’s south pole, water ions that appeared on Earth a long time ago “It can be used in the life support system of astronauts,” he said. This is exactly where NASA wants to establish the base.
Earlier Moon water surveys calculate the predicted amount of water based on theories that mostly attribute it to a combination of solar winds, asteroids, and comets. For example, billions of years ago, during a period known as the Late Intense Bombardment, asteroids and comets filled with hydrogen and oxygen ions are thought to have struck the Moon’s surface. These particles probably combined to form water.
However, the research team, after examining lunar gravity data collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter instrument, suggests that there may be a very good third way to explain water on the Moon, suggesting that there may be at least 3,500 cubic meters of extra water at the lunar poles. he noticed. To indicate the extent of this amount, we can say that this amount of water is approximately equal to the amount of water in Lake Huron in North America, the eighth largest lake in the world.
Researchers say that hydrogen and oxygen ions in the Earth’s upper atmosphere may have escaped as the Moon passed through our planet’s magnetosphere and landed on the Moon’s surface in the past. Within this region, the chances of Earth’s atmospheric ions being pushed off our planet are pretty high. If the Moon were on the thrust path, we can say that these ejected particles would have fallen on the Moon’s surface.
Also, since the Moon does not have a magnetosphere of its own, there is no way to repel these particles back to Earth, and it is a fact that it will have to accept hydrogen and oxygen onto its surface.
Kletetschka likens this concept to the Moon being under a “rain” of water ions emitted from the Earth.
These ions would turn into lunar ice over time, and then this ice would be pushed under the surface by various geological processes and turned into liquid water.
If this prediction is correct, it will not only make the work of the Artemis mission easier, but also allow the Moon to be used as a water storage station for future space missions.
Also, Kletetschka and other researchers say these estimates are conservative. Only 1% of Earth’s atmospheric ions would have to escape and reach the Moon for such large amounts of Moon water to form. If more ions made it to the Moon, we could end up with a much higher amount of water than we had anticipated.