The Moon, Earth’s tidally locked little brother, is a tempting target for a first colony outside of Earth’s protective barrier. Yet, many scientists have questioned the viability of the Moon as a first home for explorers due to its arid surface. Until now.
Researchers at Brown University reexamined volcanic glass beads brought back by the Apollo 15 and 17 missions, and discovered the beads contained similar amounts of water as basalt rocks on Earth. Each bead contains only 0.05 percent of water, but the large number of beads on the surface makes this discovery significant.
Finding water on the moon makes future lunar bases more feasible. The water could be extracted from the surface and converted to a drinking source or even fuel. It was suspected that although water ice deposits could be found on the moon’s polar craters, it was assumed that the rest of the moon was bone dry.
“Other studies have suggested the presence of water ice in shadowed regions at the lunar poles, but the pyroclastic deposits are at locations that may be easier to access,” said Dr. Shaui Li, University of Hawaii.
It is still a mystery how much water exists on the Moon, and how it got there in the first place.
“The growing evidence for water inside the Moon suggest that water did somehow survive, or that it was brought in shortly after the impact by asteroids or comets before the Moon had completely solidified,” said Dr. Li.
Maybe Earth isn’t as special as we previously thought.