It’s cold, dark, and might hold the key to life on new worlds.
NASA/Zuber, M.T. et al., Nature, 2012
It’s cold on the Moon’s South Pole.
There are some regions that the Sun never touches — namely the bottoms of cavernous craters.
Ernie Wright, NASA SVS/USRA
But it’s what’s inside those frigid craters that matters: they might be storehouses for frozen water.
In the meantime, researchers are analyzing the best places for future missions to set up shop.
David Ladd, NASA Goddard/USRA
A new NASA study, published September 1 in the journal Planetary and Space Science, details four ideal landing spots on the South Pole to hunt for resources.
The study was released alongside a stunning visualization of the Moon’s South Pole, comprised of images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Here’s what roughly 60 Earth days looks like on the Moon’s South Pole:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
The sun never rises more than 1.5 degrees above the horizon on the Moon’s poles, which causes long, dark shadows to cross their surface year-round.
Only time will tell if there’s water — or something else — lurking in the darkness.