Indian probe finds water on the moon

Just a week after NASA reported evidence that there was probably water on the moon, India’s Chandrayaan-1 moon mission has actually found some.

Launched last October, the spacecraft experienced a communications failure last month. The mission was aborted – but not before the probe was able to send back vital data showing that water exists on the lunar surface, and may still be forming today.

Looking for water was one of the main goals of Chandrayaan-1, India’s first moon mission. It was equipped with NASA’s Moon Mineralology Mapper (M3), designed to search for the electromagnetic signature of water.

Because M3 cannot penetrate very deeply, the data indicates that the water is on the surface. The signal was stronger at the polar regions. It’s not yet known how the water got there: it could have been deposited by comets strinking the surface, or by the solar wind  breaking apart the oxygen bonds in rocks and soils.

The discovery could have significant implications for future manned missions and the creation of lunar bases, by providing a potential source of drinking water and fuel.

NASA will hold a press conference later today to discuss the findings. An ISRO spokesman confirmed the discovery to TG Daily, but could not give more details.

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