Ice may lie scattered across up to a quarter of the surface of a crater on the moon.
NASA spotted bright illuminations in images returned from the Shackleton crater, which is located on the moon’s South Pole.
The more water we find on the moon, and the more accessible it is, the better – as it will be needed if Man ever establishes a permanent colony on the moon.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft returned data that indicate ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material.
The team of NASA and university scientists using laser light from LRO’s laser altimeter examined the floor of Shackleton crater.
They found the crater’s floor is brighter than those of other nearby craters, which is consistent with the presence of small amounts of ice. This information will help researchers understand crater formation and study other uncharted areas of the moon.
Gregory Neumann, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said: ‘The brightness measurements have been puzzling us since two summers ago.
‘While the distribution of brightness was not exactly what we had expected, practically every measurement related to ice and other volatile compounds on the moon is surprising, given the cosmically cold temperatures inside its polar craters.’