NEW YORK: There may be substantial amounts of trapped water in the interior of the moon, Brown University researchers said Tuesday.
By analyzing satellite data, researchers at Brown University in the United States discovered rich amounts of indigenous water within the volcanic deposits, or within layers of rocks spread across the lunar surface after ancient volcanos erupted on the moon.
This suggests that water may be rich in the moon’s mantle, the layer between the crust and the core, according to the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Tuesday.
The study’s lead author, Ralph Milliken, told CNN that past findings of water on the moon didn’t appear to come from indigenous sources.
The moon is believed to have been formed from debris of an object that hit the Earth early in the solar system’s history, but the essential hydrogen to form water could hardly survive the heat in the formation of the moon.
Li Shuai, who co-authored the story, said in a press release that their finding suggested that “water did somehow survive, or that it was brought in shortly after the impact by asteroids or comets before the moon had completely solidified.”
“The exact origin of water in the lunar interior is still a big question,” Li said in the press release published on Brown’s website.
The finding also sheds light on future lunar exploration, as water could potentially be extracted from the volcanic deposits.