When NASA blasted a hole in the moon last year in search of water, scientists figured there would be a splash. They just didn't know how big. Now new results from the Hollywood-esque moonshot reveal lots of water in a crater where the sun never shines—41 gallons of ice and vapor. That may not sound like much (it's what a typical washing machine uses for a load) but it's almost twice as much as researchers had initially measured and more than they ever expected to find.
"The resources are there and potentially useable for future missions," says the mission chief from NASA, adding there could be more such craters at both the moon's poles. Proof that the moon is not a dry world offers hope for a possible future astronaut outpost where water on site could be used for drinking or making rocket fuel. Besides water, the plume also contained carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, sodium, mercury, and silver. (Read more moon stories.)