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Saturday, January 28, 2023
Home This illustration zooms in on the area of detail indicated in the previous photo, showing how shadows enable water ice to survive on the sunlit lunar surface. When shadows move as the Sun tracks overhead, the exposed frost lingers long enough to be detected by spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech) This illustration zooms in on the area of detail indicated in the previous photo, showing how shadows enable water ice to survive on the sunlit lunar surface. When shadows move as the Sun tracks overhead, the exposed frost lingers long enough to be detected by spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration zooms in on the area of detail indicated in the previous photo, showing how shadows enable water ice to survive on the sunlit lunar surface. When shadows move as the Sun tracks overhead, the exposed frost lingers long enough to be detected by spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration zooms in on the area of detail indicated in the previous photo, showing how shadows enable water ice to survive on the sunlit lunar surface. When shadows move as the Sun tracks overhead, the exposed frost lingers long enough to be detected by spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration zooms in on the area of detail indicated in the previous photo, showing how shadows enable water ice to survive on the sunlit lunar surface. When shadows move as the Sun tracks overhead, the exposed frost lingers long enough to be detected by spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Moon is covered with craters and rocks, creating a surface “roughness” that casts shadows, as seen in this photograph from the 1972 Apollo 17 mission. These cold shadows may allow water ice to accumulate as frost even at daytime. The area of detail is highlighted in the following illustration. (NASA)
NASA Study suggests Water Ice could be in Surface One hypothesis is that water molecules are trapped within lunar material (left). But a new study posits that water molecules (right) remain as frost on the surface in cold shadows and move to other cold locations via the thin exosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)