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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 antirelic (1030688) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:01PM (#29210959) Journal

    I'm all for space travel (I think this is one of the few useful things a government agency does well), but like many people here have said many times before, we need to do it in ways that make sense and that we can build on. What started out with a quick dabble in LEO was slung shot to a space race to the moon. While some of the technology that came from that competition (mind you, many products were developed outside of the space program and adapted TO the space program where it became famous) has found great uses, the push to the moon did not yield much outside of the international political arena.

    With that said, there has been a correction. The nations of the earth have begun to utilize low earth orbit: satellites (for various uses). This is the number 1 use of LEO. As time goes on and people begin to find ways to exploit LEO there will be more challenges to face (advantages and disadvantages to be gained). This analysis of the moon shows us how far we have come and how far we have to go. The moon is close, and cheapest heavenly body to get to. If we cant put and maintain a base there, how can we expect to exploit asteroids or even attempt to wrestle with landing and take offs on other planets (for example: tag: gettomars).

    Every mistake made provides an opportunity to improve and do it again. Its best we learn (and we will learn many things) trying to land and establish outposts on the moon before we go any further, and this will likely be the case for the next several generations (unless some crazy breakthrough in physics occurs that results in easy and safe departure from the earths surface).

    Go NASA!

  • Re:Get well soon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:23PM (#29211099) Homepage Journal

    That's true, but there's a consensus that processing ice will be much easier than processing regolith.. the question remains, is it really ice? And how pure is it? Is it mixed with regolith? Even in those worst situations it'll likely still be easier to purify dirty snow than melt regolith in solar furnaces. The important thing is, different materials require different strategies and that means different equipment.. they have to design everything and be 95% sure it'll work before sending it up.

    On the other hand, virtually no-one is talking about scouting for high purity metals (say, from asteroid impacts) and the ease at which processing those ores would be compared to processing common regolith. It's not that the payoff is less, it's just that this kind of far off vision is stigmatized and if you want to keep getting funding you have to reign in your enthusiasm.
     

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