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Moon Science

Unambiguous Evidence of Water On the Moon 251

Posted by samzenpus
from the water-and-cheese dept.
Nethemas the Great writes "Information has leaked ahead of the scheduled NASA press conference tomorrow that we have found unambiguous evidence for water on the moon. From the article, 'Since man first touched the moon and brought pieces of it back to Earth, scientists have thought that the lunar surface was bone dry. But new observations from three different spacecraft have put this notion to rest with what has been called "unambiguous evidence" of water across the surface of the moon.'"
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Unambiguous Evidence of Water On the Moon

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  • great news (Score:5, Funny)

    by SkyMunky (249995) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:02AM (#29526029)

    I'll be thirsty after the long ride.

    • by RuBLed (995686) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:37AM (#29526161)
      You'd be thirsty alright, but that is no moon.
    • Great news indeed. Still, it's depressing to think that we're still using an ancient, dangerous, primitive and very expensive space transportation technology: rocket propulsion. One thing is sure; we'll never colonize the solar system with rockets at the rate we're going.

      But rejoice. Soon, a new form of transportation will arrive, one based on the realization that we are immersed in an immense ocean of energetic particles. This is a consequence of a reevaluation of our understanding of the causality of moti

      • by Ant P. (974313) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @05:35AM (#29526903) Homepage

        And then we can have magic flying hamburgers that zoom into your mouth when you give them the secret whistle!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        He's modded funny, but he's right (well, maybe not he part about "immersed in an immense ocean of energetic particles" even though we are indeed immersed in an immense ocean of energetic particles; that is, after all, what matter and energy are).

        We live in primitive times. The 1800s are considered by us to be primitive, but to a man getting off of a train and sending a telegraph to someone hundreds of miles away, it was amazingly high tech, almost magic. To someone watching Star Trek in the 1960s, their cel

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mdwh2 (535323)

          So to clarify, aside from all the things he got wrong, such as "based on the realization that we are immersed in an immense ocean of energetic particles", and "Soon", he's right?

          This guy sounds amazing! He gets everything right (except the things he gets wrong).

        • by cgenman (325138) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:18AM (#29528415) Homepage

          And I guarantee you that their teenagers will probably all still rebel, they'll still groggily and grumpily get up for work in the morning, and they'll still grow old wishing that they hadn't fritted their youth away.

          We're more or less still living like we lived 5,000 years ago, from a macro perspective. Somehow I don't see that changing any time soon (unless, of course, we all die).

        • by iYk6 (1425255)

          he's right (well, maybe not [the] part about "immersed in an immense ocean of energetic particles" even though we are indeed immersed in an immense ocean of energetic particles;

          Do you not understand what that word means?

          right (adj) - correct in judgment, opinion, or action.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday September 24, 2009 @08:09AM (#29527645)
        Considering the incredibly harsh environment of every other body in the solar system, I'd say that transportation is one of the least of our problems in trying to colonize them. We haven't even colonized the vast majority of *this* planet, and just about any spot on it is way more hospitable than anywhere on Mars.
        • The majority of the surface of this planet is covered with enough water to instantaneously squash you like a bug. On the other hand, you'd live a good 4-5 minutes if you were dropped pretty much anywhere on Mars.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by wagnerrp (1305589)
            Mars has a very thin atmosphere. You wouldn't have any chance of holding a lungful of air, and your now nearly-vacant lungs would strip the remaining oxygen back out of your blood stream. You would pass out in under half a minute, and begin to suffer brain damage not long afterward.
      • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @08:56AM (#29528149)

        no.

        Rocket propulsion blows.
        Jet propulsion is the one that sucks, of course it also blows.

      • by smaddox (928261)

        My brain hurts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'll be thirsty after the long ride.

      Really?

      What they don't tell you is that the only reason there is water on the Moon is because Neil Armstrong needed a pee.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I'll be thirsty after the long ride.

        Really?

        What they don't tell you is that the only reason there is water on the Moon is because Neil Armstrong needed a pee.

        So that's where the Sea of Tranquility came from.

  • Not enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:16AM (#29526075) Homepage Journal

    The water these missions have found is present in very small quantities. Extracting it would require a lot of energy. The hope with polar water is that there might be masses of the stuff in some craters so that you could at least get a kilo of water from 20 or so kilos of regolith. Water in those quantities would be of use to humans. But we haven't seen it yet.

    • Re:Not enough (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:58AM (#29526229) Journal

      The water these missions have found is present in very small quantities. Extracting it would require a lot of energy.

      Unlimited energy is available on the moon.
      You can run a stirling engine indefinitely based on the temperature differential between sunlight/radioisotopes and shade.
      Alternatively, you could go solar.
      Weight is your only real limit.

    • There would be concentrated areas, so you'd go after those and build a supply line (such as a train) to transport it long distances.
      • There would be concentrated areas

        But we don't know. Experience on Earth, where water accumulates, doesn't apply.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      It's such a shame that responses like yours are likely to be the result of this announcement. "We found evidence that water is widespread on the Moon" in no way invalidates "We found evidence that there is *abundant* water in the permanently shadowed craters at the poles of the Moon".. in fact, it's exactly the opposite. That's where water will be mined on the Moon.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        Maybe we should accept that the moon is not like the Earth and get on with a manned mission to an asteroid.

    • The water these missions have found is present in very small quantities. Extracting it would require a lot of energy.

      This is the bond of water. We know the rites.
      A man's flesh is his own; the water belongs to the tribe.

    • Just drill a well. There should be water and gas (methane and ethane) on the moon. You may just have to drill a little deeper on the moon to find liquids, since it is colder than earth.
  • No surprise (Score:5, Funny)

    by ctrl-alt-canc (977108) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:16AM (#29526077)
    Since Apollo expedition brought back petrified wood [slashdot.org] from the moon, water was abundant there many years ago.
  • by fauxhammer (1148803) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:35AM (#29526153)
    Whalers on the moon!
  • Heavily rumoured (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barath_s (609997) <.barath.sundar. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:36AM (#29526157)
    There have been persistent reports in the Indian press over the last 3 days that Nasa's Moon Minerology Mapper on board India's Chandrayaan-1 had found water, and that the Thursday press conference would reveal it. Glad to have the embargo lifted early. http://www.examiner.com/x-21670-Houston-Space-News-Examiner~y2009m9d22-Did-Chandrayaan1-confirm-ice-on-the-Moon [examiner.com] http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=1074265 [rttnews.com]
  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:54AM (#29526211)

    Snake Oil/Dietery Supplement salesmen from the future:

    "Lunar Water! Boosts your immune system! Eliminates Earthly toxins! Alleviates impotence, back pain, arthritis, digestive irregularity! Strengthens bones, teeth, and joints! BUT IT NOW! *ONLY* $250,000,000! Operators are standing by!

    • "Lunar Water! Boosts your immune system! Eliminates Earthly toxins! Alleviates impotence, back pain, arthritis, digestive irregularity! Strengthens bones, teeth, and joints! BUT IT NOW! *ONLY* $250,000,000! Operators are standing by!

      Who let Tom Cruise in here again?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... "While the probe was still active, its NASA-built Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) detected wavelengths of light reflected off the surface that indicated the chemical bond between hydrogen and oxygen" ... ... "At noon, when the sun's rays were strongest, the water feature was lowest, while in the morning, the feature was stronger." ...

    From this they seem to draw the conclusion that the water is moving.

    If they are measuring reflection, that includes such of sunlight and all other incoming light. Including tha

    • They could reject that by looking for correlation with the position of the sun in the sky relative to the Earth and moon, ie, are we looking at night or day side?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @03:04AM (#29526251)

    "India's first lunar mission has found evidence of large quantities of water on its surface, The Times newspaper reported on Thursday."

    from http://www.hindustantimes.com/Is-there-water-on-moon-NASA-to-reveal/H1-Article1-457426.aspx

  • by atomicstrawberry (955148) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @03:35AM (#29526397)

    I guess that explains where all our arctic and antarctic ice caps have disappeared to then.

  • The article says it's water or hydroxyl (although it quietly drops the alternative for a while and just calls what they're picking up "the water signal"). I'm no chemist, but hydroxyl != water, right? So it's not unambiguous?
    • by selven (1556643)
      Hydroxyl = OH. Water = H2O
    • Re:Unambiguous? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @06:54AM (#29527197) Journal
      The scan works by looking for the OH bond, as I recall, which resonates on a particular frequency. I may be talking nonsense now, because it's a few years since I looked at this tech, but it basically works on the same principle as your microwave oven. That emits microwaves that cause the OH bonds to resonate, exciting the molecules and generating heat. This works by causing the OH bonds to resonate (in exactly the same way) and then picking up the IR that they emit as they return to their non-excited state. All that it can conclusively say is that there are molecules containing OH bonds present, but the simplest molecule containing this bond is water and so it's very probable that they've found water. Even if they haven't, they've found something that can be turned into water relatively easily, given sufficient power (e.g. a lunar solar array).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smellsofbikes (890263)

        The scan works by looking for the OH bond, as I recall, which resonates on a particular frequency. I may be talking nonsense now, because it's a few years since I looked at this tech, but it basically works on the same principle as your microwave oven. That emits microwaves that cause the OH bonds to resonate, exciting the molecules and generating heat. This works by causing the OH bonds to resonate (in exactly the same way) and then picking up the IR that they emit as they return to their non-excited state. All that it can conclusively say is that there are molecules containing OH bonds present, but the simplest molecule containing this bond is water and so it's very probable that they've found water. Even if they haven't, they've found something that can be turned into water relatively easily, given sufficient power (e.g. a lunar solar array).

        You're pretty much right on. Every molecular bond has several resonant energies for different types of vibrational modes, and a primary way of finding what you have in a sample is irradiating it and measuring at which frequencies it's absorbing energy. The MMM is specifically designed to detect in the range where hydroxy absorption would be detected [nasa.gov], unlike previous moon mappers. (Why? I wonder. It seems like that'd be a basic thing they'd want to detect, and my memory of IR spectrometers and spectrop

    • by Hatta (162192) *

      It would be very difficult for nature or a chemist to generate hydroxyl compounds and not generate some water at the same time.

  • ChandraYaan .... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CalcuttaWala (765227)
    Chandrayaan, the moon probe sent by the Indian Space Research Organisation, carried the NASA-built Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) that finally located water. This is a big boost to the Indian space program
  • It strikes me that since the Moon is similar in composition to the Earth, having been essentially "blown off" as a large chunk in its early development, that there would be a vast amount of water beneath the surface. Obviously not in liquid form, but far in excess of what you would find on the surface.

  • ...and you thought Evian was expensive.

    BTW I patent Bottled Moon Water!!!
  • Franklin screws up electrical charge convention and no one cares, Armstrong takes a wiz on Moon and everyone makes a fuss.
  • That's why we need manned space exploration: if we only had sent people instead of probes, they would have found this long ago!

    Oh, wait...

    • People with a base and some equipment (microscopes, spectroscopes, chemistry gear) would be extremely useful. Building a base wouldn't even be that hard. Just lay the foundation, put an inflatable dome over it, and grow some plants to keep the O2->CO2 cycle going. It could be quite roomy, and solar power (to reclaim drinking water and run the gear) would be no problem with no atmosphere.

  • I beam with pride hearing that NASA has confirmed what earth based, and moon based observations have been stating for decades. It has been my personal experience that when one actually gets their hands dirty, they start to understand. Maybe NASA could put a manned clean room on the moon? That would be cool. Also, man would learn more with a Pick-Hammer, Shovel, and Bucket than all the time wasted on fly-by's.

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