There may be more water on the moon than scientists previously thought, according to new research published Monday in Nature Geoscience.
Scientists at Brown University analyzed satellite data, and for the first time, detected widespread water within ancient explosive volcanic deposits on the moon.
"The finding of water in these ancient deposits, which are believed to consist of glass beads formed by the explosive eruption of magma coming from the deep lunar interior, bolsters the idea that the lunar mantle is surprisingly water-rich," researchers at Brown University noted.
Previously, scientists had assumed the moon was "bone dry." It wasn't until 2008 that a research team at Brown found very small amounts of water in some of the volcanic glass beads brought back from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions.
“The key question is whether those Apollo samples represent the bulk conditions of the lunar interior or instead represent unusual or perhaps anomalous water-rich regions within an otherwise ‘dry’ mantle,” said Ralph Milliken, the lead author of the research.
In a news release from Brown University, researchers noted that they found evidence of water in nearly all of the deposits that have been mapped across the moon's surface.
“The distribution of these water-rich deposits is the key thing,” Milliken said. “They’re spread across the surface, which tells us that the water found in the Apollo samples isn’t a one-off."
Scientists say this new research could have implications for future exploration on the moon.