(ECNS) -- Chinese scientists discovered that a large amount of water may be stored in the glass beads scattered on the lunar surface, according to an analysis of lunar soil samples retrieved during China’s robotic Chang’e-5 mission in 2020.
The glass beads are formed after lunar rock melted and cooled during collision. The research results indicate that the solar wind-induced water content in the lunar soil is higher than previously thought.
The research result was published on Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience by planetary scientist Hu Sen of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics and professor Hui Hejiu of Nanjing University's school of Earth Sciences and Engineering.
The study also found that the distribution of water in individual glass beads suggests that this type of water can quickly gather through diffusion within the glass beads, within only a few years, and rapidly released when heated.
They believe that this represents an efficient water supply mechanism on the lunar surface, which can drive an active water cycle.
The paper summarized that the water stored in impact glass beads on the moon may serve as a potential water source for future lunar exploration tasks, which can be easily extracted. In addition, impact glass on other non-atmospheric celestial bodies may also contain similar "water reservoirs".
Based on the study, Chinese scientists will further investigate the distribution of water in the impact glass beads to determine the distribution and evolution of water, providing scientific evidence for the effective utilization of lunar water.