According to a source familiar with the situation, the discovery, to be announced Monday at noon EST, is expected to “inform” the agency’s Artemis program work.
“This new discovery contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration,” NASA said in a statement.
The announcement will be made from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), described as “the world’s largest airborne observatory.”
SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747 airplane capable of flying high in Earth’s atmosphere, allowing for its 9-foot telescope to get a “clear view of the universe and objects in our solar system.” It is able to observe infrared wavelengths that are capable of detecting “phenomena impossible to see with visible light,” NASA added.
NASA’s Artemis program aims to land American astronauts on the moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence.
In 2019, NASA revealed details of its vision for the Artemis Moon Lander that will return American astronauts to the lunar surface. Artemis will also make history by landing the first woman on the moon.
Initial mission capability for 2024 involves landing two astronauts on the moon’s South Pole. Astronauts will live and work out of the lander for six and a half days, according to NASA.
After Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, only 10 more men, all Americans, have walked on the lunar surface. The last NASA astronaut to set foot on the moon was Apollo 17 Mission Commander Gene Cernan, on Dec. 14, 1972.
Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this story.