Washington, October 26: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA’s)  Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)on Monday confirmed that that it has found water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. According to SOFIA, water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. The announcement was made by NASA's administrator Jim Bridenstine.

NASA in a press release said, “SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Previous observations of the Moon’s surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH).” Moon May Hold Frozen Water in More Places Than Suspected.

Video of Water on Moon:

“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration,” NASA added. NASA Set to Unveil 'Exciting' New Discovery About Moon from SOFIA.

It was thought that Moon’s surface was completely dry after Apollo astronauts first returned from the Earth’s satellite in 1969. Over the past 20 years, NASA’s mission, including Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, confirmed ice in permanently shadowed craters around the Moon’s poles. However, several spacecraft – including the Cassini mission and Deep Impact comet mission, as well as the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 mission – and NASA’s ground-based Infrared Telescope Facility, looked broadly across the lunar surface and found evidence of hydration in sunnier regions.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 26, 2020 10:50 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).