The North American Great Lakes have some competition. The moon. Yes, that old thing in the sky may hold more than all of the water contained in the Great Lakes, according to a NASA-funded study. Water bottling companies and thirsty-but-dry states are already scurrying to find ways of bringing the H2O back to Earth. Think of the money that could be made. "Moon Water: It's out of this world." Just kidding, of course. For the time being. The Great Lakes are loved by people in bordering states like Michigan, the province of Ontario, Canada, and outsiders thirsty for their share of the largest surface freshwater system on the planet. Fortunately, there aren't any lakes on the moon ready for sucking. The study, highlighted by iTWire, says the water is located in the moon's interior, and is indigenous to the moon. Moon drilling, anyone?
The research says the volume of water molecules locked inside minerals in the moon's interior could exceed the amount of water in the Great Lakes. Could.
The finding comes from scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory and others. They say the water was likely present way back when the moon was formed, about 4.5 billion years ago, as "hot magma" started to cool and crystallize. Hence the indigenous aspect of the moon water.
"For over 40 years we thought the moon was dry," Francis McCubbin of Carnegie and lead author of the report, said in a statement.
This water is in the structural form of hydroxyl, explains Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. And it's a "very minor" component of rocks that make up the lunar interior. Bummer. But humankind is bound to find ways to extract it when the time is right. Right?
It may be unrelated, but NASA is working to create moon residents: "At the core of NASA's future in space exploration is a return to the moon, where we will build a sustainable, long-term human presence," the agency says on its website.
If nothing else, this could mean we're gonna need a bigger environmental movement.