Chandrayaan 2 is on its way to find water on the Moon — and looks like there could be lots of it

Daedalus, one of many lunar cratersNASA

  • A new study in Nature Geoscience has determined that the craters on Mercury and the craters on the Moon's South Pole are spatially similar.
  • Researchers compared the shadows of the craters in both regions.
  • They have determined that its likely that the Moon's craters are similarly filled with ice vapour and water like the craters on Mercury.
It’s possible that the Moon might have a lot more water on it than originally presumed — millions of tonnes of it. India is currently on its way to the Moon’s South Pole with its lunar mission, Chandrayaan 2, racing ahead of the US, America and China.

Prior studies have already determined that Mercury’s craters shelter water and ice vapour. And, Chandrayaan 1’s crash landing onto the Moon discovered the presence of water particles.

So, in order to determine the consistency of water inside the Moon’s craters, three researchers compared the the diameter to depth ratios of craters on Mercury and the Moon’s South Pole.

Their study published in Nature Geoscience concludes that similar shadowed areas on both space bodies could indicate the same consistency of ice.

Millions of tonnes of ice

Researchers note that the thermal conditions of both space objects are similar in nature in their study.


Next, in order to compare the craters on Mercury and the Moon, they compared data from 2,000 shaded craters of Mercury against 12,000 similarly shaded craters on the Moon.

On Mercury, the LRO probe discovered that the craters on Mercury consisted of water and ice vapour. And, since the craters on the Moon are similar in their construction, they conclude that the material collecting in them is most likely ice as well.

We find that previously detected surface ice deposits in the south polar region of the Moon are spatially correlated with shallow craters, indicating that the surface ice may be exhumed or linked to the subsurface via diffusion.

Excerpt from study in Nature Geoscience

India’s Chandrayaan 2 mission is already on its way to the Moon’s South Pole to discover the location and volume of water on the moon. The US, Russia and China also have planned missions to the Moon’s South Pole over the next decade. The discovery of water has led to a surge in speculative demand for the Moon’s resources according to experts.

See also:
With the Chandrayaan 2 launch, India's historic Moon mission has taken off

India's Chandrayaan 2 takes the lead ahead of America, Russia, and China as the first of many missions to the Moon's South Pole

India’s second mission to the moon will use these 14 high-tech instruments to look for water