Water on the Moon: Russia beat NASA to the discovery by almost 50 years – claim | Science | News


NASA made a bombshell announcement on October 26, when it told the world that it had found trace amounts of water on the lunar surface. The space agency heralded the discovery, claiming it could help NASA establish a lunar base by tapping into the Moon’s natural resources.

Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, said: “We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon.

“Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

However, Russian-state media has claimed that the USSR actually discovered water on the Moon almost 50 years ago.

According to Sputnik, the USSR’s Luna 24 discovered water when it went to our lunar satellite in 1976.

A paper in 1978 published in the journal of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, claimed that scientists had found trace evidence of water.

Although the English title of the 1978 paper was titled ‘Possible Water in Luna 24 Regolith from the Sea of Crises’, Sputnik said the Russian publication was more definitive.

The media outlet added that, because of the ongoing Cold War, Soviet research was often met with scepticism by scientists in the western world.

Sputnik said: “If NASA scientists had read a bit more work from their Soviet colleagues, they might have realised that the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe made this discovery in 1976.

“The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) dispatched dozens of probes to various objects in outer space, including the moon and Venus, making major contributions to humanity’s knowledge of the solar system.

“However, their work was often ill-read by Western scientists.”

In 2011, US scientists at Columbia University tested samples from the USSR’s Luna 24, and found that roughly 0.1 percent of lunar soil consisted of water.

Sputnik said: “According to Arlin Crotts, who was an astronomy professor at Columbia University until his death in 2015, the trio tested soil samples brought from the moon back to Earth by the Luna 24 probe.

“That probe had drilled two meters down into Mare Crisium and extracted 170 grams of lunar soil.

“By using infrared absorption spectroscopy, they proved the lunar soil was composed of roughly 0.1 percent water by mass, with more water appearing further below the surface you went.”