HomePOPULARStudy Reveals Enhanced Possibility of Water Ice in Lunar Polar Craters

Study Reveals Enhanced Possibility of Water Ice in Lunar Polar Craters

Bengaluru: A recent study conducted by scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has uncovered compelling evidence suggesting an increased likelihood of water ice occurrence in the polar craters of the Moon.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Space Applications Centre (SAC)/ISRO, in collaboration with institutions including IIT Kanpur, University of Southern California, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, sheds new light on the distribution and extent of water ice in the lunar poles.

According to an ISRO statement, the research indicates that the amount of subsurface ice within the first couple of meters beneath the lunar surface is approximately five to eight times greater than that found at the surface, in both the northern and southern polar regions.

The space agency emphasized the critical importance of drilling on the Moon to sample or excavate this ice for future missions and long-term human presence.

Furthermore, the study revealed that the extent of water ice in the northern polar region is approximately twice that of the southern polar region, suggesting variations in ice distribution across lunar latitudes.

The origin of this ice, as confirmed by the study, is attributed to outgassing during volcanism in the Imbrian period, indicating that subsurface water ice in the lunar poles is primarily sourced from this process.

The research team utilized a suite of instruments onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, including radar, laser, optical, neutron spectrometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, and thermal radiometer, to investigate the origin and distribution of water ice on the Moon.

The accurate characterization of the distribution and depth of water ice occurrence on the lunar poles is crucial for identifying potential landing and sampling sites for future missions aimed at exploring and characterizing lunar volatiles, the statement emphasized.

Moreover, the findings of this study support previous research conducted by ISRO, which highlighted the possibility of water ice presence in polar craters using data from the Chandrayaan-2 Dual-frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument.

The comprehensive understanding provided by this study regarding the occurrence of water ice in the lunar poles is instrumental in informing ISRO’s future plans for in-situ volatile exploration missions on the Moon.

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