NASA has a big announcement to make tomorrow, with the agency saying it will share an “exciting new discovery” about the moon which “contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the moon in support of deep space exploration.” If that piques your curiosity, we’ve got the details on how you can follow the announcement live.
NASA will stream audio of the announcement made by the Astrophysics division director and the chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate plus two researchers on Monday, October 26 at 9 a.m. PT.
To listen to the announcement, you can tune in using the video embedded at the top of this page or by going to the NASA Live website.
One thing we know about the discovery is that it was made using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a flying observatory on board a modified Boeing 747 aircraft. SOFIA has previously made discoveries about stellar winds and star formation, investigated a stellar nursery, and probed the origin of water on Earth. As it is based in an aircraft, SOFIA can fly above 99% of the water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere which usually interferes with ground-based measurements. That means it can collect more accurate data to see further into the cosmos.
There aren’t any further details of what to expect about the discovery yet, but despite it being over 50 years since we landed on the moon, there’s still a whole lot we don’t know about our neighboring body. One big area of interest is the existence and location of water on the moon, particularly ice around its poles, as this could be a valuable resource for supporting future crewed moon missions like NASA’s upcoming Artemis mission. Water is needed for the creation of rocket fuel as well as providing astronauts with something to drink, and it will be hunted out by NASA’s new lunar rover, VIPER.
Other topics of interest for human exploration of the moon include radiation levels there and how these can be mitigated, and examining moon dust and rocks, both for scientific interest and because moon dust is tricky stuff which can cause engineering problems. Another ongoing question is what the best way to design and build a long-term moon base is.
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