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Moon Space NASA

NASA Explores the Moon's Water/Oxygen Deposits 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-a-very-big-pool dept.
destinyland writes "NASA's LCross mission will now test whether the moon's hydrogen and oxygen deposits could be converted into air, water, and even fuel. A dramatic crash by the rocket's upper stage will blast 200 tons of moon rock up 10 kilometers from a dark crater — where its constitution can be measured by LCross's instruments. (NASA predicts 'a number of different ways that we'll be able to create water from whatever form of lunar hydrogen we find' on the moon, noting recent missions have already confirmed the presence of oxygen in moon rocks, while the sun delivers a constant stream of hydrogen.) Carrying water to the moon costs $100,000 a kilogram, so these experiments could be a crucial step to getting more people on the moon."
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NASA Explores the Moon's Water/Oxygen Deposits

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  • by rbanffy (584143) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:40PM (#29211621) Homepage Journal

    An interesting effect of not having water readily available on the moon could be the development of missions to icy moons to get the water required for a moon (or Mars) colony. The Moon is going to be important if we plan to be a space-faring civilization as it's the closest place to Earth that has the raw materials to build spacecraft coupled to a very rocket-friendly gravity well. I am not sure about fuels (nuclear fuels), but the rest looks promising.

    There are many nice places to collect water ice in the outer solar system and once you have a full tank of water collected you can use it as propellant in a nuclear-thermal rocket to get back to the Moon with still plenty left. It would be a bitch to do it with a fully automated and autonomous spacecraft, but, at least, it's conceivable. And even building the spacecraft itself should not be that hard if we can remission Ares-V (more likely an Ares XXVIII, considering the timeframes involved) main tanks for ferrying water back from out there. The spacecrafts would end-up being small when compared to their tanks.

  • Sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:40PM (#29211623)

    What are they thinking?

    Before they can think about a moon base, maybe they should fix the problem of getting into orbit in the first place. Right now, the current implementation is not a solution. $10,000 or so a kilogram is stupidly expensive. It costs many millions of dollars to blast just one astronaut into space.

  • Re:Costs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:08PM (#29212221)

    "With serious rationing, humans can live on as little as 3 or so liters a day"

    On sea kayaking trips, where there isn't any fresh water, we usually bring about two litres a day, and that leaves a comfortable safety factor. That doesn't include showering, but it IS perfectly possible to have a sponge bath in less than half a litre, and people used to get along perfectly well having VERY infrequent baths.

    The recommended daily intake of drinking water is around 1-2 L/day for women and 2-3 L/day for men. With "serious rationing," and living and working in a controlled environment you could cut that down by at least half.

    Yeah, it's nice to have 100 L a day to flush toilets and take showers, but it's not really required.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra