For the first time ever, scientists have identified water on the moon’s sunlit surface. They also found that water is more common on the moon than previously thought, with pockets of ice hiding in shadowy regions of “eternal darkness,” some as small as a penny, new studies reveal.
Scientists have been finding signs of water on the moon since 2009 and, in 2018, confirmed the presence of water ice on the lunar surface. Now, researchers in two new studies have detected water at one of the largest crater formations on a sunlit surface on the moon and also found that the lunar surface could be harboring plentiful patches of secret ice in “cold traps,” regions of permanently shadowed spots on the moon.
“If you can imagine standing on the surface of the moon near one of its poles, you would see shadows all over the place,” study author Paul Hayne, assistant professor in the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a statement. “Many of those tiny shadows could be full of ice.”