Scientist find more evidence of water on Moon

Scientists have found chemically altered form of water is bound up in a lunar rock.

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2010, 19:02 PM IST

London: Scientists have found chemically
altered form of water is bound up in a lunar rock, a discovery
that strengthens the belief that water is widespread on both
the outside and inside of the Moon.

water on Moon following several lunar missions, including
India`s Chandrayaan-1 probe.

Now, the discovery by geologists at the California
Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Tennessee University
suggested that it would be far easier for humans to one day
set up a space station on the moon`s surface, the Daily Mail
reported.

The discovery was made after the team examined a
basalt rock underlying the Moon`s surface that was formed by
lava flows billions of years ago and brought back to Earth by
the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.

They found evidence of hydroxide ions -- negatively
charged molecules identical to those of water but missing one
hydrogen atom in apatite, a calcium phosphate mineral.

Professor George Rossman, of the California Institute
of Technology, said: "If you heat up the apatite, the hydroxyl
ions will `decompose` and come out as water."

The team said this provides "robust evidence for the
presence of water in the interior of the moon from where some
lunar rocks were derived.

"This demonstrates a closer chemical and geologic
relationship between the Earth and moon than previously known.
We must now re-evaluate the volatile inventories of the Moon,
relative to the Earth."
Reporting their findings in the journal Nature, the
researchers said ubiquitous water on the Moon could mean a
human settlement on the moon is not so far-fetched.

Currently the endeavour would be very expensive. For
example, it costs USD 25,000 to take one pint of water to the
moon.

But if scientists devise processes to easily recover
this water from the lunar rocks for drinking water and fuel, a
human settlement is not out of reach, the scientists said.

Space scientist Professor Lawrence Taylor of Tennessee
University said: "Now we have ready sources of water that can
be consumed by plants and humans but also electrolysed into
liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to develop rocket fuel.

PTI