Although the moon remains drier than any desert on Earth, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has confirmed water does exist on the moon in very small quantities.
Data from three spacecraft indicate that a thin film of water coats the surface of the soil in at least some spots, a discovery that raises the possibility of future lunar bases, colonization and a source of drinking water and fuel.
For decades, the moon had been considered a dead and uninteresting world by scientists. The Apollo missions of the 1960s and ’70s brought back some rocks that contained tiny amounts of trapped water, but scientists at the time decided they had been contaminated by water from Earth.
The discovery “will forever change how we look at the moon,” said Roger Clark, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.