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Scientists Think Ice From Volcanoes Could Still Exist On The Moon, And Astronauts May Use It As A Water Fountain

BOULDER (CBS4) - Scientists think that ice from ancient lunar volcanoes may provide astronauts with the lunar equivalent of a water break.

schroeter's valley (from nasa)
(credit: NASA)

New findings from researchers at CU Boulder points to massive ice sheets near the lunar poles that came from ancient lunar volcanoes. Those sheets are estimated to be dozens or even hundreds of feet thick. Crews in the future could convert this ice to drinking water for astronauts on the lunar surface or in orbit and process it into rocket fuel.

"We envision it as a frost on the moon that built up over time," Andrew Wilcoski, lead author of the study, published earlier this month in The Planetary Science Journal, said.

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Paul Hayne, the co-author of the study and an assistant professor in the Astrophysical Planetary Sciences and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said that the lunar surface was chaotic and abundant with massive volcanic eruptions that eventually settles on the lunar surface somewhere between 2 and 4 billion years ago.

Researchers believe that there was enough volcanic water-turned-ice on the moon to fill Lake Michigan, and that much of that ice could still remain on the moon today.

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