New research by HIGP scientists has revealed that water, in the form of the H2O molecule, is present across the surface of the Moon, not just hidden in permanently shadowed (and very cold) Polar craters, as previously thought. This has significant implications for future human exploration, as a future Lunar presence will require water to support the astronauts and their activities. Dr Casey Honniball, who obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. with us in HIGP and is now a Post-doctoral Fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and her Ph.D. advisor, HIGP faculty member Dr Paul Lucey, flew on NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory (a modified Boeing 747) at an altitude of 13 km (about three times the height of Mauna Loa) and made spectroscopic observations of the Lunar surface. As most of Earth’s water-laden atmosphere was below them, they could unambiguously detect the fingerprint of H2O on the surface of the Moon. Casey’s research has just been published in Nature Astronomy.
You can read more about this exciting discovery here.