View from the moon to the Earth  (Source: NASA)
It's official ... the moon does have water!

A new article published in the science journal Nature indicates there is evidence of water on the moon.  A team led by Brown University's Alberto Saal analyzed pebbles from lunar volcanic glasses that were collected during the NASA Apollo space missions.

"What is important for me is it's telling me something about the origin of the moon and the Earth and the presence of water at very early times," Saal said in a press statement.

With space nations now aiming for manned missions to the moon, a possibility of liquid water located on the moon has excited researchers.  But astronomers will now have to head back to the drawing board to try and discover how much water is available on the moon and if astronauts would be able to gain access to it.

NASA will head back to the moon later this year with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, in an effort to look for traces of water on the moon's surface while also looking for possible landing sites.  The LRO will specifically focus on the moon's South Pole.

Many scientists believed the moon didn't have water because of the way it was created around 4.5 billion years ago.  The most likely theory is that a flying object close to the size of Mars slammed into the Earth and sent pieces of debris into space that helped form the moon.  If there was any liquid on the service, it would have likely evaporated before the pieces were able to join together to form the moon.

The pebbles in question are composed of iron-rich orange glass and magnesium-rich green volcanic glass that were joined together immediately following the explosion.  Scientists already knew the pebbles had carbon and sulfur, which means they were created due to some type of strong eruption.  Instead of looking for signs of water directly because it separates into smaller components naturally, researchers looked for any signs of hydrogen, using a technique that measured the composition of the rock molecule by molecule.

Scientists believe the discovery could also help offer insight into how long water has been on Earth as well.

“It suggests that water was present within the Earth before the giant collision that formed the Moon,” Saal added. “That points to two possibilities: Water either was not completely vaporized in that collision or it was added a short time - less than 100 million years - afterward by volatiles introduced from the outside, such as with meteorites.”

The U.S., China, Japan, Russia and several other space nations have plans for various lunar missions.  Each nation is in various stages of missions that will eventually lead up to possible manned missions to the moon. 

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