This surface water exists as water molecules bound to the lunar soil. Up until the last decade, scientists thought the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles. “Lunar water can potentially be used by humans to make fuel or to use for radiation shielding or thermal management; if these materials do not need to be launched from Earth, that makes these future missions more affordable,” said Amanda Hendrix, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.
Scientists have supposed that hydrogen ions in the solar wind may be the source of most of the Moon’s surface water. But the water observed by LAMP does not decrease when the Moon is shielded by the Earth and the region influenced by its magnetic field, suggesting water builds up over time, rather than “raining” down directly from the solar wind. If humans can figure a way to harness this water in a more efficient way, it will also make our space missions easier and less expensive.