China Says Its Rover Has Found Proof Of Water On The Moon

Poppy Bilderbeck

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Water Finding On Moon By China Rover - Alamy Alamy

Chinese scientists have reported finding the first on-site evidence of water being present on the moon. 

The Chang’e-5 rover first landed on the moon at the end of 2020 to study its surface, from photographing the land to plotting the area below the lunar surface and analysing the moon’s soil.

Despite the moon previously being considered completely dry, China’s rover later sent data back that suggested the presence of water inside the moon’s rock, according to analysis performed by scientists back on Earth.

The finding adds to mounting evidence of H2O being present on the moon.

China Rover Moon Discovery - Alamy Alamy

While on the moon, China’s rover measured the spectral reflectance of rocks by using its on-board instruments to fire light at them, Metro reports.

Molecules of oxygen and hydrogen are able to be detected through the reflected light, alongside signs of the chemical hydroxyl.

Hydroxyl is made up of one hydrogen atom for every one oxygen atom, compared to water which is a ratio of 2:1 of hydrogen to oxygen.

In the past 10 years, moon rocks have been tested as part of multiple orbital observations and sample measurements, many of which have shown that water or hydroxyl exists within.

Lin Honglei from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences told the South China Morning Post:

It’s like a ‘field trip’ out on the Moon, the first opportunity to detect signs of water at close range and high resolution on the lunar surface.

While the latest discovery, published in Science Advances, backs up previous findings that lunar soil contains water, it also suggested that water sources could potentially be found beneath the surface, The Independent reports.

Water on Moon China Rover - Alamy Alamy

A higher concentration of water was found in the moon’s rocks than the moon’s soil, measuring 180 grams per tonne, compared to 120 grams per every tonne of soil.

Chief Exploration scientist for NASA’s human exploration and operations mission directorate Jacob Bleacher said the finding was useful for future trips made to the moon by humans.

He said: ‘Anytime we don’t need to pack water for our trip, we have an opportunity to take other useful items with us. Being able to use water that is already at the moon would be a big help for us in exploring the Moon.’

The research gathered by China’s rover also revealed that volcanic activity had taken place on the moon more recently than first thought, as solidified lava brought back from the lunar surface was believed to have formed around two billion years ago.

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Topics: Science, China, Moon, Now, Rock, water

Credits

Metro and 1 other
  1. Metro

    China says its lunar rover has found proof of water on the moon

  2. The Independent

    China probe finds first on-site evidence of water on the Moon

Poppy Bilderbeck
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