In the fall of 2023, the U.S. rover will arrive in the southern hemisphere. Its purpose: is to test the ice water that scientists know is hidden in the shadow of the moon and who do not believe it can help stabilize people who may one day explore the moon or use it as an opening to explore distant lands.
NASA has recently appointed Kevin Lewis, a fellow professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at Krieger School. He has also worked on missions on Mars as a co-investigator of the assignments. Using part of the rover system, he plans to explore the underground space of the moon in his office at Olin Hall.
“I’ve been on other rover campaigns, but on Mars, so I’m a little new to the moon,” Lewis said. “We will see shadows that have never seen the Sun, let alone human eyes. So it would be a very different kind of place we have ever seen in other lunar images.”
Drought is desert
Most of the moon has no water at all. That’s because of the way the satellite is built and the significant impact between proto-Earth and the size of Mars. Temperatures were high enough to melt the rock and evaporate, forming a vapor cloud of rock around the Earth. Eventually, the vapor combined to form a moon.
Those temperatures were also high enough to evaporate any water, leaving even impressive traces trapped in rocks as Earth does. But as time passed, meteors and a comet containing water ice exploded on the moon, sending glandular molecules jumping to the moon’s surface.
The Sun’s angle on the moon’s poles is steep, creating long shadows, which means that some polar craters do not receive sunlight. When water molecules jump into one of those unlit areas, their temperatures are below freezing in the solar system at just ten degrees above zero, releasing their heat energy and staying attached to the surface.
“So, over time, you can build ice deposits in these permanent shady areas, which may be the only source of water for a whole month at a reasonable price,” Lewis said.