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Frozen Water at the Moon’s Poles Confirmed

In a year of exciting discoveries about humanity’s favorite neighboring planet, Mars, it’s easy to forget that the first celestial body to welcome us was the Moon.
Distribution of surface ice at the Moon's south pole (left) and north pole (right) 1 photo
From time to time, however, space agencies across the globe remind us that the exploration of the planet’s natural satellite is far from over, and surprises are dangling above our heads in the night sky.

On Monday, it was NASA’s turn to bring the Moon back into the spotlight. The agency announced that a team of scientists from several organizations, including the Ames Research Center and the University of Hawaii, directly observed ice deposits on the Moon's surface.

The observations were made using data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organization aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

As per the results of the observations, these pockets of ice are distributed in the shadows of craters near the poles. There, says NASA, temperatures never go above minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 121 degrees Celsius), allowing water to stay frozen from possibly ancient times.

Confirming the existence of frozen water on the Moon marks yet another piece taking its place in the puzzle of a possible human colony. The ice is just at the surface, which means it could be used for future expeditions.

In fact, says NASA, one of the goals of the upcoming missions to the Moon will be to learn more about the ice and how it got there.

NASA’s most ambitious project when it comes to the Moon is the building of the Lunar Orbital Platform, announced in February.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is supposed to act as a staging ground for both Lunar and Mars incursions. It would also support a host of scientific experiments, just as the International Space Station (ISS) is doing in Earth orbit.

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