The central peak of Bullialdus rises above the moon’s crater floor.
Water spotted on the moon’s surface originates from deep within the moon’s interior, scientists say.
The details of their discovery — made by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft — were published in Nature Geoscience.
It represents the first such remote detection of this type of lunar water, also called “magmatic water.”
The water-bearing rocks, which originated deep within the moon, were excavated in the central peak of the Bullialdus crater by the impact that formed the crater, said study lead author Rachel Klima, a planetary geologist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.
The research confirms earlier lab analyses of moon rocks brought back to earth from the Apollo missions.
The magmatic water will provide information about the moon’s volcanic processes and internal composition, according to Klima.
“Understanding this internal composition helps us address questions about how the moon formed, and how magmatic processes changed as it cooled,” she said.
Klima said that the discovery further helps to solidify scientists growing realization that the “interior of the moon is not as dry as we previously thought.”