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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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  • Re:great news (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @03:30AM (#29526133)
    me
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @03:56AM (#29526225)

    ... "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 that from the earth (sunlight reflected by the earth to the moon). The part of the light reflected from the earth does not depend on the intensity of the sunlight reaching the moon, but the earth. In other words: With increasing sunlight intensity the background noise of reflections from the earth is reduced.

    I hope they got some backside measurements, and that there really is some water. But what was presented in the article doesn't really convince me.

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

  • Re:BREAKING NEWS! (Score:4, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @04:09AM (#29526273) Homepage Journal

    ...and ultraviolet light from the sun which breaks the water molecule down into oxygen and hydrogen. Water is unstable on the surface where it gets exposed to light but it should be stable in shadow on the surface and under ground. The problem is that almost no places on the surface have remained shadowed for hundreds of millions of years (except possibly the polar craters) and shallow subsurface still get rotated to the surface by meteor impacts, while deep places are... deep and hard to reach.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @04:50AM (#29526449)

    Mod parent up please

    Original article is here:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article6846639.ece

  • by volcanopele (537152) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @05:37AM (#29526667)
    Using a US-built instrument. Please leave nationalism out of this...
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:44AM (#29527153) Journal

    Jump off a building. Seriously. Your atoms are not accelerated quite simultaneously and equally due to the slight incline of the gravitational plane, but the difference is almost negligible (ignoring air resistance), and so you don't feel any acceleration (fall into a small black hole and the differences become important and you become spaghetti). You won't be injured until you hit the ground and the atoms in your feet are the only ones being accelerated, with the others being brought to stationary by the electromagnetic force propagating through your body. The same effect can be achieved in mass drivers with ferromagnetic projectiles in a vacuum.

    The grandparent is an idiot who has read too much science fiction, but his ideas are theoretically sound. The practical problems are huge, however, not 'just around the corner'.

  • Re:Unambiguous? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:54AM (#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).
  • by somersault (912633) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:24AM (#29527807) Homepage Journal

    Yep I was thinking a gravitational field might get close to what he wants if it's from a relatively large object acting perpendicular to a relatively small, flat and thin surface, but it still wouldn't be perfect. For *very* strong gravitational fields pulling on objects with irregular densities, surely there is still the potential to get seriously mess yourself up :P And does a change in an object's mass have an immediate effect on the rest of the universe, or does the influence propagate at the speed of light?

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:56AM (#29528149)

    no.

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

  • Re:Not enough (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:57AM (#29528165)

    You may have to leave the basement, and then the building, in order to experience this phenomenon.

  • by wagnerrp (1305589) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @02:32PM (#29531579)
    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 WindBourne (631190) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @03:41PM (#29532393) Journal
    Some virus can survive centuries.
    Bacteria mutate fairly easily.
    Prions are still large unknowns.
    And it is possible for life to be something different than what we are looking for.

    Any mission that goes there should be one-way for a LONG time.
  • Re:Not enough (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:29PM (#29535003)

    Energy is not unlimited on the moon. Energy is available very cheaply in large quantities, but solar is limited, obviously, by the surface area of the light side, and thermal is limited by both surface area and how efficiently you can radiate heat away from the dark side.

    Very small problems for a theoretical base right now, of course, but these limitations might well become significant in the event of a real colonisation. And they certainly mean the energy isn't unlimited.

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