(Source: True Slant)

  (Source: How Stuff Works)
Lunar land is "rich"; boasts water, mercury, silver and gold.

The moon could serve a much greater purpose than just being Earth's natural satellite. In November of last year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the discovery of lunar water. 

release by NASA and a report published today as six papers in the journal 
Science reveals that there is more water on its surface than was previously thought.  Members of NASA's Apollo missions space team also discovered trace amounts of silver, along with mercury, gold and other elements and compounds, on the near-side of the moon.

“We didn’t know the moon after all,” said Peter Schultz, a planetary geologist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and co-author of the papers. “It’s like there was a different face and it was hidden in a treasure trove.”

Scientists made the discovery after analyzing the findings of an experiment conducted last year when NASA deliberately slammed a rocket into a lunar crater. Traveling at nearly 6,000 miles per hour, the rocket burrowed 90 feet.  The impact tossed up lunar material six-feet deep.  

"There's this archive of billions of years (in the Moon's permanently shadowed craters)," Schultz said. "There could be clues there to our Earth's history, our solar system, our galaxy. And it's all just sitting there, this hidden history, just begging us to go back."

The quantity of water found was 50 percent more than was first estimated.

"It's really wet," said Anthony Colaprete, a space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. and also a co-author of the 
Science papers. 

The moon is wet, scientists report, but the moon's hydrosphere is nothing like that of the Earth's. The total mass of the targeted lunar crater's soil is believed to contain roughly 5 percent of water ice. In some areas, water was confirmed as mostly pure ice crystals.

And while the moon's water supply has been described as sparse and not liquid, scientists believe that this latest data is promising enough to set up a station on the moon.

China, India and Japan are currently making plans to land on the lunar orb, but the U.S. won't take part in the effort for at least ten years. While President Barack Obama has given the go-ahead for a manned trip to Mars, he recently canceled a U.S. program aimed at returning astronauts to the moon. 

Japan hopes to set-up an unmanned base within a decade, China plans to send astronauts by 2025 and India has set its sights on a lunar landing by 2020.

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