(STUDY FINDS) -- MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The Moon may not be made of cheese, like the old myth believed, but it’s not the barren and dusty rock it appears to be. For the first time ever, NASA has confirmed that there is water on the sunlit side of the Moon’s surface.
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) made the discovery while flying 45,000 feet above the Earth in a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner. Inside the aircraft is a 106-inch diameter telescope that can scan the Moon’s surface using an infrared camera.
The surprising find was uncovered in the sunny Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from our planet. Until now, scientists weren’t able to determine if the readings were water molecules or H2O’s close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH). SOFIA’s data reveals there’s about 100 to 412 parts per million of water in the crater. That’s about the same as a 12-ounce bottle trapped inside a cubic meter of soil.
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