Nasa says that despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface.
The water molecules are potentially trapped inside glass beads, a result of meteors and comets hitting the lunar surface, Honniball said. But it appears that it is in fact present, and not just on the parts that are shaded from the sun. "This indicates that water might be distributed across the lunar surface", NASA tweeted on Monday from its moon-related account.
But the new study found evidence of billions of micro-craters that could each cradle a miniscule amount of ice. The presence of water in an area like this is surprising because water would normally vaporize at that temperature on Earth and at an even lower temperature on the moon.
Her Nasa colleague Jacob Bleacher, from the agency's human exploration directorate, said researchers still needed to understand the nature of the watery deposits. In fact, Nasa is now busy training its astronauts, including a woman, for another manned mission to Moon, named the Artemis programme, to be launched by 2024 to expand its lunar exploration. Understanding the science of the Moon also helps piece together the broader history of the inner solar system.
NASA scientists are keen to understand the moon's hydrological dynamics as they prepare for human missions to the moon. The scientist had estimated that it takes $50,000 to carry a litre of water to the Moon on a rocket. Accessible sources where water can be harvested on the moon would beneficial to those endeavours.
There are several possible explanations for the water's presence, including the possibility that it was delivered to the surface by micrometeorites impacting the moon.
Using its Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the Sofia Telescope (Forcast), Sofia was able to pick up the specific wavelength unique to water molecules. They said the new discovery is just the beginning of future research that will involve exploring the state and location of the water on the surface.
Even more surprisingly, the scientists were able to discover some unusual concentrations of water in the Clavius Crater on the Moon's sunlit side, where water was not expected to even exist in principle.
"Yet somehow we're seeing it". He adds that if the water is so trapped, it would be relatively easy to melt the glassy materials and, in essence, "mine" the water. That's 20% more area than previous estimates, he said.
"Each of these tiny shadows - majority smaller than a coin - would be extremely cold, and majority cold enough to harbour ice".
How did the scientists find the water? Astronauts need water to drink, of course, but water can also be used to synthesize oxygen, make fuel, water plants and more.
Nasa in 2009 found water crystals in a deep crater near the Moon's southern pole.
Sofia is the largest weather observatory in the world.
Orbital and impactor missions over the past 20 years, such as NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, confirmed ice in permanently shadowed craters around the Moon's poles.
The team pulled data from real-life observations of the moon, then used mathematical tools to recreate what its surface might look like at a very small scale. The answer: a bit like a golf ball.
Hayne notes that his team can't prove that these shadows actually hold pockets of ice-the only way to do that would be to go there in person or with rovers and dig.
Nokia has said its network will provide essential communications for the work astronauts will have to do on the moon.
U.S. scientists on Monday announced their discovery of the first direct evidence of molecular water on the Moon, 11 years after India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft had detected the signatures of a possible component of water.