NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, makes a major announcement regarding their newest discovery on the moon.
In a press release on Wednesday, the independent agency reveals to announce the discovery from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy or SOFIA, a converted Boeing 747, to the public.
NASA hopes the discovery would allow them to expand human knowledge about the moon and support in-depth space exploration.
In four years, the agency will send the first woman and the next man to the lunar surface through the ambitious Artemis program. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first-known woman in space, did make it to outer space but did not land on the moon.
To conduct the project, NASA partnered up with space agencies from Europe, Japan, Canada, Italy, Australia, the UK, and the UAE. They also requested a US$1.6 billion additional funding for the fiscal year 2020.
Where to Watch?
Three senior members of the NASA board: Paul Hertz, Jacob Bleacher, and Naseem Rangwala, are the speakers. The three are based at NASA Headquarters in Washington and Ames Research Center in California.
Another interesting person is Casey Honniball, a fellow postdoctoral at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Previously, as Independent reported, Honniball has conducted a study on finding water on the moon. Her scientific dissertation, titled 'Infrared Remote Sensing Of Volatile Components On The Moon,' is available online.
NASA's Exciting Announcement
NASA wants us to be excited about the moon, but they're still keeping the cards close to their chest.
Last March, SOFIA, the world's largest airborne observatory, was grounded amidst the current pandemic crisis until mid-August. The agency has also been struggling with budgetary for the past few years.
However, it's highly likely that the announcement will center around water discovery on the moon. SOFIA provides a crystal-clear view from a nearly 9-foot telescope and can sniff bizarre phenomenon that is likely missed from visible light.
As previously mentioned, Dr. Honniball was the scientist behind the moon's crucial water discovery back in 2018.
"Using data from SOFIA, we report the first direct detection of the water molecule on the illuminated lunar surface," the University of Arizona alumni wrote at the end of her report. "We developed a new approach to detect the actual water molecule on the Moon using observations at 6 µm, based on how geologists detect H2O in samples in the lab using infrared spectroscopy."
Could this bring new hope in the human exploration of outer space? Only time will tell.