Researchers led by Brown geologist Alberto Saal analyzed lunar volcanic glasses, such these gathered by the Apollo 15 mission, and used a new analytic technique to detect water. The discovery strongly suggests that water has been a part of the Moon since its early existence – and perhaps since it was first created.
The discovery may force scientists to rethink the lunar past and future, although uncertainty remains about how much water exists and whether future explorers could extract it.
The water was found inside volcanic glass beads, which represent solidified magma from the early moon’s interior. The news swept through much of the scientific community even before being detailed in the journal Nature this week.