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For the first time, scientists have discovered that what they say is a definitive proof of the ice on the lunar surface. The discovery suggests that future expeditions to the moon could have a readily available water source "to explore and even stay on the moon," a statement said Tuesday about the discovery to the official of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Ice has been detected in the darker and colder regions of the north and south poles of the moon. It exists in areas scattered in the north and concentrates in permanently shaded craters in the south, where temperatures never climb above 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
The discovery, described in an article published August 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences magazine, was made by a team of scientists led by Shuai Li, a researcher at the University of the Institute of geophysics and planetology of Hawaii.
The team analyzed data obtained from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard Chandrayaan-1, an Indian spaceship that explored the moon in 2008 and 2009. Data showed three "signatures" chemicals that demonstrated the presence of ice water, as opposed to liquid water or water vapor
"The results seem very convincing to me," he told Scientific American Ian Crawford, professor of planetary sciences and astrobiology at Birkbeck, University of London. Crawford was not involved in the research.
Previous research had shown the existence of deep water beneath the lunar surface. There were also provisional tests of iced water on the surface of the lunar south pole, but no proof so far.
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