Scientists Now Show That Asteroids Carried Water To The Moon
Scientists have now proven that the water that was deposited on the moon came for asteroids, and not comets, as previously thought.
Our moon was once thought to be completely devoid of water, as the Apollo missions failed to find any concrete evidence of water in lunar soil samples.
Since then, spectrographic tests from India’s first expedition to the moon determined that lunar soil from within shadowy craters and polar regions contained molecules that could only be due to the presence of water.
Now, a study published in Nature Communications, conducted by an international team of scientists, who analyzed data taken from a 2008 joint mission between NASA and India’s space agency and found that the majority of the water on the moon came from asteroids and not comets, although it is still believed that an estimated 20% of the moon’s water still had to have arrived by comet, due to the presence of deuterium, a hydrogen isotope commonly found in them.
A spokesperson from the team explained what lead to their discovery by saying, “to a first order, a dominantly asteroidal source of water accreted during the lunar cataclysm is similar to the dominant source inferred for the subsequent basin-forming epoch of the Moon, based on geochemical, and mineralogical markers, implying that asteroids and not comets dominated the impactor population hitting the Moon during its first 500 million years of geological history.
NASA is already looking for ways for mining the moon’s surface and extracting lunar water to help with Earth’s dwindling clean water supply and deep space exploration.
In 2015, a law known as the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act, or SPACE Act, made it legal for private U.S. citizens and companies to “engage in the commercial exploration and exploitation of ‘space resources.'”