New source of water found in moon samples from China mission

For future explorers, scientists have found a renewable source of water on the moon. This was discovered by Chinese astronauts who collected lunar samples.

Tiny glass beads embedded with water were found in lunar dirt, where meteorite impacts occur. These multicolored, shiny glass beads were found in samples that China returned from the moon in 2020.

According to Hejiu Hui, a researcher at Nanjing University who participated in the study, the beads have a range of sizes, from one-hair width to many hairs. The water content was only a fraction.

The team estimates that there are trillions, if not trillions, of these impact beads. However, mining them would be difficult.

Hui stated in an email that it would require a lot of glass beads. However, the moon has a lot of beads.

The constant solar wind’s hydrogen bombardment could make these beads continue to produce water. These findings were published in Nature Geoscience on Monday. They are based upon 32 randomly chosen glass beads made from lunar dirt from the Chang’e5 moon mission.

Hui stated that more samples will be taken.

These impact beads can be found all over the globe as a result of the cooling off of melted material that was ejected from incoming space rocks. Future robotic missions may be able to heat the beads to extract water. Further research is needed to confirm that this could be done and if it would be safe to drink.

This proves that water can be recharged at the moon’s surface… Hui stated that there is a new water reservoir.

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Based on samples collected by Apollo moonwalkers over a century ago, previous studies have shown that water was found in glass beads made by lunar volcanic activity. These could also be used to provide water for future crews and rocket fuel.

NASA plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2025. They will aim for the south pole, where frozen water is believed to be stored in permanently shadowed craters.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group provides support to the Associated Press Health and Science Department. All content is the sole responsibility of the Associated Press.

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