147. Water Discovered on the Sunlit Surface of the Moon – Lunar Geologist Sarah Noble

Water on the Moon – Sunny side up!

NASA’s aircraft SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) has confirmed for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. Previously NASA had discovered evidence for water in shadows of craters, but this new discovery has incredible implications for possible use of this water as a resource as NASA returns to the Moon. Lunar Geologist Dr. Sarah Noble joins us today to discuss this incredible discovery and its implications for the future of space exploration, especially with NASA’s plan to send the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024.

In this interview Sarah discusses how SOFIA made this discovery, how much water was found, and future plans for investigating on the Moon, including NASA’s VIPER rover, a mobile robot that will go to the South Pole of the Moon to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice.

About Sarah Noble (from NASA.gov)

Lunar Geologist Dr. Sarah Noble

Dr. Sarah Noble
Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Sarah Noble grew up in rural Minnesota, where from a very young age she was fascinated with space exploration, staring up at the moon and making plans to visit it one day. She started collage as an aerospace engineering major, because it was the only major with the word “space” in it, but stumbled into a geology class one day and fell in love with the science. Knowing her love of all things space related, her professors steered her towards planetary geology, the subfield of geology that studies how other planets (and moons and asteroids and comets and whatnot) form, evolve, and operate. She started her NASA career studying meteorites as an undergraduate intern at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After graduate school, and a short adventure working for Congress, she returned to Johnson, and also spent time working at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland before finding her place at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. She has worked as a program officer and discipline scientist in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters since 2010 working on missions, as well as research and analysis programs. She is an avid painter and is passionate about sharing the joy and beauty of space exploration, both through science outreach and through her artwork.

For more information, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/sofia

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