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The Buzz: Our Watery Moon

i-6609868ac96eb6458dbb909d13936438-water.jpgLast June, scientists were thrilled to find evidence of ice on Mars. Now, the galaxy is again proving to be more abundant in water than believed. Data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard the Indian satellite Chandrayaan-1 has revealed that the surface of the Moon may be covered in either water or closely related hydroxyl ions (OH). As much as one quart of water or hydroxyl might be contained in a cubic yard of Moon soil, according to the best estimates from the data. “This could be a huge boon to establishing a Moon base,” said Ethan Siegel of Starts With a Bang, “as with water (or even hydroxyl ions) on the surface, we could possibly generate our own liquid water and breathable O2 gas!” As Erik Klemetti reports on Eruptions, mineral mapping of the Moon by Chandrayaan-1–India’s first lunar mission–also enabled the confirmation of the hypothesis that the Moon was once a ball of molten magma. And recent images taken by a NASA spacecraft revealed yet more ice on Mars.