The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed Monday that water was present on the sunlit surface of the Moon, prompting a flurry of reactions on social media.
The discovery made by the US space agency’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) indicated that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. (Here’s why it matters)
Water molecules were discovered in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth on the lunar surface. This crater is located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.
“Water molecules were found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth on the Moon!” NASA tweeted on October 26.
💦🌚 Water molecules were found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth on the Moon! This discovery from our @SOFIAtelescope indicates that water may be distributed across the surface, & not limited to cold, shadowed places. More: https://t.co/oIcCbbl50Y pic.twitter.com/Q5Ve6QwZJM
— NASA (@NASA) October 26, 2020
After NASA’s announcement, Twitter’s official account wrote,”If the moon can hydrate so can you.” To this, NASA’s official handle replied,” H2O? More like H2whoa.”
H2O? More like H2whoa.
— NASA (@NASA) October 26, 2020
While the discovery raised new questions and debates on how water persisted despite harsh lunar conditions, many on social media celebrated the announcement with memes and jokes.
— becca ☺️💜🏳️⚧️ (@dysphlexic) October 26, 2020
Water bottle left by astronauts. lol
— GaryKelejianAgent (@GaryKelejian) October 26, 2020
I’ve always been a lunatic!
— Ezrol (@Hissingpussy) October 26, 2020
— Sinan Akarsu (@akarsu_sinan) October 26, 2020
This Moonshines gonna hit different!
— Mookie25 (@Mookie251) October 26, 2020
Moon : Hey there I’m also carrying water on my land🌊🌅keep calm n drink moon water😄…. Great job NASA 😍🙌😄👻 pic.twitter.com/UdzFtoTIi5
— Ritz Verma (@_Ritz_Verma_) October 26, 2020
About time pic.twitter.com/dSuyAfMgqf
— Nick Wake (@realNickWake) October 26, 2020
YESSS Let’s do it pic.twitter.com/inwQZvyxFp
— Deppreso (@lowkeyghada) October 26, 2020
Water you so excited for pic.twitter.com/HLuHc9dQrY
— Mike, aka ElectricDCx, Console War Hippy (@PSN_ElectricDC) October 26, 2020
— Andrew Buttigieg (@ButtigiegAndrew) October 27, 2020
So, we can do baptisms on the moon if needs be? Perfect!
— St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Narragansett (@st_narragansett) October 26, 2020
NASA please can I have a bottle of Moon 🌓 water
— Zahid Sharif (@zsharif780) October 26, 2020
While research 11 years ago indicated water was relatively widespread in small amounts on the moon, the recent scientific discovery states that lunar water is more widespread than previously known, with water molecules trapped within mineral grains on the surface. This is in addition to its presence in shadowed areas.
To give some perspective, NASA said the Sahara desert has 100 times more water than what has been detected in lunar soil.
Though a small amount, NASA said it was eager to learn more about the presence of water and its possible use for humans.
In a press release, the space agency also said that the discovery is a significant development in the mission of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.