Water has been found on the moon, but it’s not flowing like a river, a creek or even a trickle.
Water was found embedded in tiny glass beads at the sites of meteorite impacts, The Associated Press reported.
And when they are called tiny, they really are — measuring from the width of a single hair to several hairs — with the water amounts contained inside the beads only a “minuscule fraction” of them, according to the AP.
In a study published by the journal Nature Geoscience, a team looked at 32 glass beads that were brought back to Earth from the Chang’e 5 moon mission in 2020.
The lunar soil was the first to be brought to Earth since the 1970s, CNN reported.
The good news is that there are not just 10, 100, or 1,000 of the beads in the dust that makes up the moon’s surface. There are billions or trillions of itty bitty beads that could provide a lot of water. The bad news — mining would be difficult, according to the team from Nanjing University in China that authored a study on the water source.
The number of beads, though, could constantly be refreshed as the moon gets hit by hydrogen from the solar wind, according to the study.
“We found a new mechanism that solar-wind hydrogen can diffuse into the glass beads and thus identified a new water reservoir on the Moon,” Hejiu Hui, one of the study’s coauthors told CNN via email. “On the other hand, impact glass beads are distributed in the regolith globally on the Moon. Therefore, the impact glass beads can be replenished with water on the Moon’s surface and can sustain the lunar surface water cycle.”
While the information about water beads is interesting, some say there may be better sources of water on the moon — the lunar poles for instance.
NASA is planning to send astronauts to the moon’s poles as part of the Artemis mission to explore the regions in a couple of years, CNN reported