New Delhi: Scientists have confirmed the presence of frozen water deposits in the darkest and coldest parts of the polar regions of moon. The findings were made using the data from Chandrayaan-I spacecraft, launched by India 10 years ago, NASA said.
Within the top few millimetres, enough ice is present, raising the possibility that water could be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on moon. It may be potentially easier to access than the water detected beneath the surface of the Moon.
According to the study published in the journal PNAS, the ice deposits, which are patchily distributed, could possibly be ancient. Most if the ice is concentrated at lunar craters at the southern pole, while the northern pole's ice more widely, but sparsely spread.
Scientists identified three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the M3 aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in 2008. M3 was uniquely equipped to confirm the presence of solid ice on the moon.
India's first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-I, stopped sending radio signals on August 28, 2009 after facing several technical glitches, following which ISRO officially declared the mission over.
However, the probe achieved 95% of its planned objectives in under a year of its space journey of two years.