A mineral that requires the presence of water to form has been discovered in a lunar meteorite, a new study reports.

The find suggests that hidden caches of water ice potentially useful for human exploration might be hidden under the surface of the moon, study team members said.

A team of Japanese scientists led by Masahiro Kayama from the Department of Earth and Planetary Materials Science at Tohoku University found the mineral, called moganite, in a lunar meteorite discovered in a desert in northwest Africa.

Moganite, a crystal of silicon dioxide similar to quartz, is known to form on Earth in specific circumstances in sedimentary settings from alkaline fluids.

According to Kayama, there is a good reason to believe that, deeper under the lunar surface, crystals of water ice could be abundant, protected from the harsh solar rays.

“In a moganite, there is less water, because moganite forms from the evaporation of water.

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