The discovery was first made with the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) – a Boeing 747 that flies with an on-board telescope over most of the water vapor in the stratosphere.
The second clue is the four NASA employees who will present the discovery on Tuesday – three managers and only one scientist, Casey Honniball – a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, whose bio on NASA website states that she is currently “Water” is studying pyroclastic deposits on the earth and moon using new data sets and techniques “.
In particular, she studies how much water there is on the moon and tries to compensate for differences in measurements between remote sensing data and samples collected during the Apollo missions.
Before starting her postdoctoral research, Dr. Honniball measured the water level on the moon with SOFIA and NASA’s InfraRed Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
“An infrared telescope has to be at a great altitude to be above the main water vapor content of the atmosphere because H2O absorbs exactly the wavelengths you want to study,” said Dr. Steel, whose scientific achievements named a small planet named after him.
“SOFIA takes a telescope up to 40,000 feet plus even higher, for the same reason: Exceed the water vapor so you can access the universe at infrared wavelengths.”
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