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Ice possibly found in Moon's crater, NASA says

NASA says that the reflective surface of the three-billion-year-old Shackleton crater could be up to 22 percent ice, according to new research.

Shackleton crater resizeEnlarge
NASA may have spotted ice in the Moon's Shackleton crater after using reflective light to illuminate the surface. (NASA/GSFC/SVS /Courtesy)

Scientists may have discovered ice on the moon.

NASA says that the reflective surface of the three-billion-year-old Shackleton crater could be up to 22 percent ice, according to new research.

CBC News reported that researchers Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center used a tool called a laser altimeter to examine changes in brightness and elevation in the 12-mile wide crater.

The mission found that the surface of the crater was highly reflective, more so than nearby craters, and thus is likely to contain ice.

"We decided we would study the living daylights out of this crater," said lead scientist Maria Zuber of MIT, according to Universe Today.

"From the incredible density of observations, we were able to make an extremely detailed topographic map."

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Ice is said to be about twice as reflective as lunar rock, reported Ars Technica, and the study found that the most reflective part of the crater was the base.

The surface could contain more than 20 percent ice, the study concluded.

Scientists have long suspected the moon contained ice but it has never been found.

Though the new research points to the possibility of water ice on our nearest neighbor, the brightness could simply be highly reflective new soil, said Ars Technica.

Alas, it is still not clear that ice exists, yet there is already talk of what this could mean - or not - for moon colonization.

The research was published in the journal Nature.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120622/ice-possibly-found-moons-crater-nasa-says