The problem with studying water on the Moon is that we’re largely relying on spectrometry. The way sunlight bounces of the lunar surface tells us about its chemical composition, but the Moon can also heat up enough to emit infrared light of its own, which is thought to mess with the readings. And so the Space Science Institute in Colorado went about combining two data sets — temperature readings from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and spectrometer measurements from India’s Chandrayaan-1 orbiter — to try and mute the impact the Moon’s own light has on results.

The institute’s research, published in Nature Geoscience, disagrees with the accepted theory that water is concentrated at the poles, and that it travels before settling in these colder regions. The study of cleaned-up spectrometry data suggests water is present all over the Moon, but unfortunately, it doesn’t make a lunar base any more viable. The researchers believe the majority of what they’re seeing is probably hydroxyl (OH), not actual water molecules (H2O). In order to make use of the hydroxyl, you’d have to mine, extract and process it — not nearly as simple as stumbling across a big deposit of ice, then.

While the study may have given us a better understanding of our moon’s water reserves, the techniques used could also help us learn more about potential sources of water that exist in our wider solar system and beyond.