Research Spotlight: Map of lunar hydrogen points to large amounts of water ice


  • Leslie Ofori,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


In October 2009, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission smashed into a crater on the Moon and confirmed previous studies that suggested that water ice existed on the Moon. To learn more about lunar water, scientists are examining the abundance and distribution of hydrogen. Hydrogen has been detected near the lunar poles, but scientists have not been certain whether this hydrogen is the form of water ice or in other compounds such as molecular hydrogen. If hydrogen exists in a volatile compound such as water, it would remain stable only in cold, permanently shaded regions such as deep craters.