Back in 2008, India proved water on moon.

India's ISRO spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 released the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) that impacted Shackleton Crater, of the lunar south pole, at 20:31 on 14 November 2008 releasing subsurface debris that was analysed for presence of water ice.


But again NASA proved water on moon by Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA):


Why it's news that SOFIA found water when it's already been found by ISRO?

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    $\begingroup$ The real reason is that NASA is desperately trying to justify their hundred million dollar boondoggle.. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ From your first link: "Previous observations of the Moon`s surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water [H2O] and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH)". I was under the impression this was what made the recent discovery notable. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ Even if it wasn't a new finding at all, this wouldn't mean it's scientifically worthless. Replication studies are actually important, if often neglected, part of the scientific method. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 0:26

2 Answers 2


It is news because the 6.1 $\mu$m wavelength measured is unique to $\rm{H_2O}$. All prior evidence included $\rm{OH}$ groups as well, thus did not show clear proof of presence of "$\rm{H_2O}$".

So, now we know there is $\rm{H_2O}$ and not just any random $\rm{OH}$ group containing moleculas.

Anyway, the amount measured still is ~100x less water per $\rm{m^3}$ than in the Sahara desert.


This discovery is news because the water found is in a sunlit area, the Clavius Crater. Previous water discoveries were all in 'cold traps', which are areas where sunlight cannot reach, so water resources on the moon for colonies or space exploration was thought to have been limited to permanently shaded areas - the rest was thought to have been boiled off by sunlight.

If water exists in sunlit areas then it's likely to be much more prevalent a resource on the moon than we previously thought, which is good news for space exploration.


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