China's Lunar Lander Makes First On-Site Detection Of Moon Water

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 - 03:00 AM

China's fifth lunar exploration mission of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program has found the first on-site evidence of water on the moon's surface, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed Science Advances journal on Friday. 

The study, titled  "In situ detection of water on the Moon by the Chang'E-5 lander," led by a joint research team of scientists from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGGCAS) detected water on the moon via reflectance spectral data from the lunar lander. Here's a more in-depth explanation of the discovery from the study: 

We estimate up to 120 parts per million (ppm) of water (OH + H2O) in the lunar regolith, which is mostly attributed to solar wind implantation. A light-colored and surface-pitted rock (named as CE5-Rock) is evident near the lander.

Images and water content at the Chang’E-5 landing site

The reflectance spectra suggest that CE5-Rock could be transported from an older basalt unit. CE5-Rock exhibits a stronger absorption, near 2.85 μm, than the surrounding regolith, with estimation of ~180 ppm of water if the model for estimating water content of regolith is applicable to rock samples, which may suggest an additional source from the lunar interior. 

The low water content of the regolith may suggest the degassing of mantle reservoir beneath the Chang'E-5 landing site. 

There have been many orbital observations that have detected evidence of water on the moon. NASA recently confirmed the presence of water ice. China's discovery is the first evidence of on-site water detection. 

China is expected to plan additional missions to examine the content and distribution of lunar surface water. 

Meanwhile, China's been conducting missions across the solar system. Last week, its Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter took stunning high-definition images of the red planet.   

China wants to become dominant in space as it recently launched a new high-tech space station. Just wait until Beijing decides to militarize the heavens above us.