As we get ready to join a host of European nations, as well as China, in a race to the moon to shovel up the valuable Helium 3 dust lying on the surface, we have long wished there was water on the moon for the thirsty miners who will be working there. Now it turns out that WATER is lying on the moon’s surface too, encased in crystal “beads.” Since this means there is water INSIDE the moon, it indicates that our satellite may have been created in a slightly different way than we have long thought it was.

When the Apollo moon missions in the 1960s and 1970s brought back moon rocks, NASA was surprised to find that they were made up of the same materials as rocks here on earth. The assumption, therefore, was that the moon was piece of the earth that had been knocked off by a passing asteroid and captured in the earth’s orbit. They thought the heat from the impact vaporized all the water, leaving the moon dry.

But a new study shows that water remained deep in the interior of the moon all this time. Could we eventually dig wells there?

The evidence has been sitting in NASA labs for 40 years. Glass-like volcanic pebbles, brought up to the surface by volcanic eruptions 3 billion years ago, were brought back by the Apollo astronauts. They contain water, but so little of it that it had never been detected. In BBC News, Paul Rincon quotes Erik Hauri as saying, “We developed a way to detect as little as five parts per million of water. We were really surprised to find a whole lot more in these tiny glass beads, up to 46 parts per million.”

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