The moon’s wet: now what?

In October 2020, NASA’s SOFIA aircraft, with the assistance of an infrared camera, discovered water on the light side of the moon. While there has been evidence of ice in the moon’s craters, this discovery of water on parts of the surface that aren’t shadowed and below freezing marks an interesting turn for the future of human survival. 

This bodes particularly well for NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send the first woman and another man to the moon by 2024. This lunar discovery mission aims to unveil even more about the planet’s natural satellite, 

After hearing this, the urge to take a hearty swig of moon water is strong; in theory, it’s the exact same kind of water on Earth, so it should be safe to drink. However, only about three percent of water on Earth is drinkable in its natural state, so it’s going to take a long process of extraction, examination, and filtration before we can chug some of that sweet, sweet moon water. Luckily for the future of NASA’s Artemis mission, they’re going to be spending a lot of time up there.

While more water can be found in the Sahara Desert than on our moon, this discovery still immensely advances our knowledge surrounding the potential for life. Water, a fundamentally important substance for life as we know it, is a valuable resource. Not only does its presence mean that humans can potentially survive on the moon for longer than ever before, but it also means that we can probably find water on similar, seemingly inhospitable astronomical bodies.

If water can exist in, frankly, the terrible conditions on the moon, there’s no telling where else we can find it. And where there’s water, there’s a chance of life. 

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Ally Fowler

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September 2021
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