The NASA scientists, using data from the Chandrayaan-I spacecraft, on August 21, 2018, confirmed that there are frozen water deposits in the darkest and coolest parts of Moon’s Polar Regions. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The Chandrayaan-I spacecraft was launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
A team of scientists led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University and including Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. M3 was uniquely equipped to confirm the presence of solid ice on the Moon. It collected data that not only picked up the reflective properties but was able to directly measure the way its molecules absorb infrared light, so it can differentiate between liquid water or vapour and solid ice.
1. Scientists have directly observed definitive evidence of water ice in the darkest and coldest parts of Polar Regions of the Moon.
2. The ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient.
3. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the north pole’s ice is more widely and lightly spread.
4. Most of the newfound water ice lies in the shadows of craters near the poles, where the warmest temperatures never reach above minus 156 degrees Celsius (-250 degrees Fahrenheit).
5. Due to the very small tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis, sunlight never reaches these regions.