China’s firsts in space just keep coming with today’s news being a particularly big deal – especially if you’re one of those proponents for a lunar colony.
That’s because the Chinese Chang’e lunar lander just discovered water in a rock on the moon’s surface. They did this using the specific signature that H2O makes when light hits it, in this case, infrared light. Naturally, the moon’s surface gives off its own signals which could lead to skewed results; to compensate for this effect, the Chang’e lander deployed compensatory mechanisms so that the readings more accurately reflected the rock’s composition.
In a picture showing the area where the water was detected, one rock, in particular, has a way higher concentration of the substance than the surrounding area. This is particularly interesting to scientists because it could signal an origin point below the moon’s surface while the “ambient” trace amounts of water in the general vicinity are likely deposited by the solar wind.
And to keep things in perspective, the amounts detected in the rock and elsewhere are incredibly small. Nonetheless, this discovery is a huge deal in bridging our gaps in understanding of our only satellite as well as how both the Earth and the moon might have formed long ago.
If you missed our coverage of the Chang’e lander a couple of months ago, you can read about it here.
Of course, we’d love to know your thoughts on the discovery of trace amounts of water on the lunar surface in the comments below.
Check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.