Water On the Moon, Pt. 3
What DO we know about existing water on the Moon?
In 1998, the Lunar Prospector probe measured the composition of the Moon's regolith. Lunar Prospector found a high concentration of Hydrogen (in the form Hydroxl) around polar regions, which had the potential of being bound to water -- though it could also have simply been bound to minerals. To determine which, Lunar Prospector pointed itself at the end of its mission toward the lunar surface. And crash landed.
The hope was that a crash might "splash" up icy bits into a more easily detectable range -- but Lunar Prospector met its demise without generating any conclusive results.
In 2008, Chandrayaan-1 was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization, intended to use remote sensing equipment to map the lunar surface and its chemical characteristics, with particular attention paid to the polar regions and their potential for ice. A mini-SAR radar system found more than 40 small craters, ranging from 2-15 km in diameter, that reflected the signature of water ice, found exclusively in the Permanently Shadowed Regions of the poles. Chandrayaan-1 then deployed a Moon Impact Probe to crash land on the Moon's surface, and this time, there were clear signs that Hydroxl groups existed in this Lunar soil.
It was estimated that just in that one 20-meter crater, there were close to 100 kg of water ice. Further analysis of all Permanently Shadowed Regions bump the amount up to around 600 million metric tons of pure water ice.
So let's go!
** I moved to Tromsø specifically to train myself for these conditions