NASA will be revealing an “exciting new discovery” about the Moon in a press conference next week (October 26).
According to a statement released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the announcement will be live-streamed via its website.
No details have been released about the discovery, which has been made by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA.
SOFIA s a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a 2.7-meter reflecting telescope at heights of between 38,000 and 45,000 feet.
This puts the aircraft above 99 per cent of Earth’s infrared-blocking atmosphere, allowing astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes.
The observatory’s mobility allows researchers to observe from almost anywhere in the world, and enables studies of transient events that often take place over oceans where there are no telescopes.
NASA’s announcement will be made at 12pm EDT on Monday, October 26.
In a statement, the space agency said: “This new discovery contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration.
“Under NASA’s Artemis programme, the agency will send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 to prepare for our next giant leap – human exploration of Mars as early as the 2030s.
“Understanding the science of the Moon also helps piece together the broader history of the inner solar system.
Those participating in the briefing are Paul Hertz, Astrophysics division director at NASA Headquarters, Washington; Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters; Casey Honniball, postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland; and Naseem Rangwala, project scientist for the SOFIA mission, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, California.