Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan finds water on moon

Monday, September 28, 2009

India's first lunar moon mission Chandrayaan-1 has helped NASA find water on the moon's surface. NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) on board Chandrayaan found the evidence of water molecules on the surface of the moon.

Even 40 years ago, rock samples brought to Earth by Apollo (US) and other missions led some scientists to claim that water existed on moon. But they had doubts about the findings, as the boxes in which the moon rocks were brought to earth had leaked—contaminating the samples with air from the atmosphere.

Previous U.S. space missions, Cassini and the Deep Impact spacecraft, had detected slight traces of water in molecular form in the moon's polar craters. Recent studies made by Chandrayaan have found water (H2O) and hydroxyl (OH) molecules with silicate rock at moon's equatorial region. It is estimated that less than a teaspoon of water could be extracted out from several kilograms of lunar soil.

Forty years after first landing, some say this major discovery will trigger new interest in the moon.