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“The Moon Has Water!” News Releases

This table has been created to be updated. The latest update is the date of the latest news release. This post is based on my Mars Has Water post that I’ve been updating since 2006. No matter how exciting it is to find water in these places, the press releases often have the same title: “[Planetary Body] Has Water!” Well, yes, and often we’ve found water there before. Each individual discovery has something new and interesting though, so I’m collating a list of those discoveries here. If you know of a discovery I’m missing, please e-mail me.

Date News Released News Title, Mission, Evidence (and what’s special this time)
Reliability of Evidence Amount of Water Date the Water May Have Been Liquid
November 13, 2009 LCROSS Impact Data Indicates Water on Moon, spectrometers on board the LCROSS Mission, two plumes of material ejected when LCROSS hit the Moon both show evidence of water being kicked up, this time we kicked the water up ourselves showing the concentration of water below the surface of the crater Cabeus High Small, but enough to melt and use (“The plume from the impact contained at least 100 kilograms of water”) A long time ago if ever.
September 24, 2009 NASA Instruments Reveal Water Molecules on Lunar Surface, M3 on Chandrayaan-1, VIMS on Cassini, High-Resolution Infrared Imaging Spectrometer on Epoxi (Deep Impact), spectra data at the polar regions show hydroxyl and water molecules distributed through the surface of the Moon Medium Very Little – 10 to 1000 parts per million (at most one liter of water in one ton of lunar rock) Possibly never, we’re talking individual molecules of water and hydroxl, probably adsorbed (stuck) to the surfaces of various minerals.
March 5, 1998 Lunar Prospector Finds Evidence of Ice at Moon’s Poles, neutron spectrometer instrument on board Lunar Prospector, spectra data suggesting concentrations of water at Moon’s Poles Low Very little – 10-300 million metric tons (the low number is around the size of Lake Union) No estimate.
December 21, 1996 Ice on the Bone Dry Moon and Ice on the Moon, Bistatic Radar Experiment on Clementine, radio waves bounced off of permanently dark craters suggests ice deposits Low Very Little – 100 million to 1 billion metric tons (The small number is four times the size of Lake Union, or a third the size of Lake Sammamish) No estimate.

~ A l i c e !

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