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'Moon has 100 times more water than previously thought'

world Updated: Jun 15, 2010 14:54 IST

PTI
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Moon has hundred times more water than was previously thought, and it could be widespread deep under its surface, planetary scientists have claimed.

A US-led team has found that there is at least 100 times more water in the Moon's minerals that was previously believed -- in fact, the scientists have based its findings on an analysis of the mineral apatite in lunar rocks picked up by Apollo space missions and in lunar meteorite found in Africa.

"Water may be ubiquitous within the lunar interior," the planetary scientists wrote in the 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' journal.

"For over 40 years we thought the Moon was dry. We found that the minimum water content ranged from 64 parts per billion to 5 parts per million -- at least two orders of magnitude greater than previous results.

"Or another way of looking at it -- if you took all of the water that was locked up inside the rocks of the Moon and put them on the surface, it would make a metre-thick layer covering the Moon," Francis McCubbin of Carnegie Institution of Washington, who led the team, said.

According to the study, the water is not immediately accessible -- it is incorporated in the rocky interior of the moon, the media reported.