The Final Frontier

Moon Soil Is Damp

A fine film of water coats the particles that make up dirt on the Moon, and though the quantity of water is small, it's generating great excitement. BBC News reports that data from three spacecraft, including India's Chandrayaan probe, have confirmed the presence of water, although it would take a cubic meter of lunar dirt to squeeze out a liter of water. The U.S.' earlier Apollo missions found lunar soil that was "damp" but couldn't rule out the possibility that water got into the samples after they returned to Earth. The quantity of water increases nearer the poles, where the Apollo missions never reached. Scientists suspect that water is created in the soil via a chemical reaction involving solar wind and oxygen atoms already in the soil. Next month, a NASA probe will bomb the moon in order to see if the dust that is kicked up includes water vapor.