NASA spacecraft SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) detected water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. NASA reported that on October 27, citing Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon. Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration,” Hertz said.
Previously, SOFIA managed to find traces of "some form of hydrogen", but it was too difficult to tell the difference between the actual water (H2O) and hydroxyl (OH), which are really similar in terms of chemical composition.
According to the message, "data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface (...) As a comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. Despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface".