First Lunar Water, Then... Monolith?

News flash from NASA!

NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.

SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Previous observations of the Moon’s surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH). Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface. The results are published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy.

(Via NASA.)

Hmm, that crater seems familiar, especially to Arthur C. Clarke fans who enjoyed 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Here's how Clarke describes TMA-1, the Tyco monolith, in the novel:

The darkened assembly room became suddenly hushed and expectant as the picture on the screen changed. Though everyone had seen it many times, there was not a person who failed to crane forward as if hoping to find new details. On Earth and Moon, less than a hundred people had so far been allowed to set eyes on this photograph.

It showed a man in a bright red and yellow spacesuit standing at the bottom of an excavation and supporting a surveyor's rod marked off in tenths of a meter. It was obviously a night shot, and might have been taken anywhere on the Moon or Mars. But until now no planet had ever produced a scene like this.

The object before which the spacesuited man was posing was a vertical slab of jet-black material, about ten feet high and five feet wide: it reminded Floyd, somewhat ominously, of a giant tombstone. Perfectly sharp-edged and symmetrical, it was so black it seemed to have swallowed up the light falling upon it; there was no surface detail at all. It was impossible to tell whether it was made of stone or metal or plastic - or some material altogether unknown to man.

"TMA-1," Dr. Michaels declared, almost reverently. "It looks brand new, doesn't it?"

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