NASA researchers have discovered that water may be far more widespread on the Earth's only natural satellite than previously thought.
The relevant study, which was published by the journal Nature Geoscience, runs counter to some of the theories suggesting that the moon's water is locked in ice at the lunar polar regions and that the amount of lunar water changes permanently.
The new findings are based on analysis of data captured by two lunar NASA missions, which specifically used its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the NASA-designed Moon Mineralogy Mapper.
"We find that it doesn't matter what time of day or which latitude we look at; the signal indicating water always seems to be present. The presence of water doesn't appear to depend on the composition of the surface, and the water sticks around," Joshua Bandfield, the lead author of the study, said.
Scientists have yet to find out how the water emerged on the moon and if the liquid could be used as drinking water for astronauts or as a fuel source for hydrogen-powered rockets.
Coauthor on the study Michael Poston pointed out in this regard that "the next step is to determine whether it's water [H2O], hydroxyl [OH] or a mixture of the two — and where it came from."
"Is it from external sources, delivered by comet or asteroid impacts? Is it from internal processes on the Moon itself, such as ancient volcanism? Or could it be an ongoing process of the solar wind reacting with lunar materials to create OH or H2O?" Poston said.