China's space program (CNSA) is the first to detect water signals directly from the Moon's surface thanks to its Chang'e-5 lunar probe, a report from CGTN reveals.
The new breakthrough provides yet another important milestone for the CNSA, which is ambitiously closing the gap between itself and the world's two historic space superpowers, the U.S. and Russia.
For years, thanks to a number of orbital observations and sample measurements, it has been known that water exists on the Moon. In fact, last year a California-based startup called Masten Space Systems announced it is developing a robotic rover that can mine ice on the Moon to provide future lunar habitats with water and oxygen.
However, according to China's space program, water has, until now, never been detected on the Moon by a rover or lunar probe. In a new study published in the journal Science Advances, researchers detailed how the lunar soil at the probe's landing site contains less than 120 parts per million water (ppm) or 120 grams of water per tonne. A nearby vesicular rock, meanwhile, carries 180 ppm. All of these readings are much drier than what you would see on Earth, though they do confirm water content in the lander's vicinity.
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