Europe To Probe The Moon For Water | Out Of This World Weekly
European Space Agency has approved a robotic mission to the Moon to search for water. They are targeting the polar regions where water was possibly detected initially in 1994 by the U.S. military Clementine mission, though not conclusively. In 1998, the Lunar Prospector detected large amounts of Hydrogen at the poles and this was thought to indicate large amount of water trapped in permanently shadowed lunar craters. India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbter later estimated 600 million metric tons of water ice. Later, the LCROSS mission flew through an ejecta plume and found what is thought to be find grained particles of almost pure water ice. Even with all of these lunar probes, we are unsure of the exact amount and form that the lunar water is in. While some tests showed large, thick slabs of water ice, others showed only fine grains of water ice mixed in with the lunar regolith or even possibly hydroxyl groups (-OH) chemically bonded to regolith merely masquerading as water. If we are ever to exploit this absolutely necessary water on the Moon for human usage, we will need to know exactly where, how much, and what form it is in.