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NASA Moon Science

NASA's LCROSS Mission Proves Lunar Ice Suspicions 177

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the water-is-wet dept.
NASA is reporting that preliminary data from the LCROSS mission indicates that there really is water in one of the permanently shadowed lunar craters, just as they suspected back in September. "'We are ecstatic,' said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. 'Multiple lines of evidence show water was present in both the high angle vapor plume and the ejecta curtain created by the LCROSS Centaur impact. The concentration and distribution of water and other substances requires further analysis, but it is safe to say Cabeus holds water.'"
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NASA's LCROSS Mission Proves Lunar Ice Suspicions

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  • Whats the hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thenextstevejobs (1586847) on Friday November 13, 2009 @03:33PM (#30090632)
    Base on the moon! Lets go fuckers!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)

      The hold up? Probably the part where a base on the moon is pointless and exceedingly expensive? I mean, sure, it'd be cool... but let's be reasonable, here: there is *nothing* on the moon worth getting (and before you He3-fusion wankers chime in, go read this [bautforum.com]).

      • by yincrash (854885) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:04PM (#30091028)
        the view of earth
      • What about Cheaper mission costs if shuttles can be assembled on the moon and then launched from there with low orbit?

        I mean, by your logic, the ISS is a complete waste of time and money, yet we still did it. Why would we back down from terrible Ideas NOW?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)

          What about Cheaper mission costs if shuttles can be assembled on the moon and then launched from there with low orbit?

          Yes, because that's *so* much cheaper than just building them in orbit. Yes, let's ferry all those materials hundreds of thousands of miles to the moon and then sink them in another gravity well... that'll be *so* much better.

          • Supposedly it would be - or thats what people on /. have said before (though thats hardly a reliable source). Because the Moon's Gravity is so much lower than Earth's, it'd be SO much cheaper to launch a LONG RANGE shuttle from there (say, one past mars), that the cost of sending a simple cargo run to the moon is less than the amount you'd save.

            • Let's see:
              1. Haul the Long Range shuttle from Earth into orbit.
              2. Lower it down to the moon
              3. Haul the food/water/oxygen/science payloads into orbit
              4. Lower them down to the moon
              5. Haul the fuel into orbit
              6. Lower it down to the moon
              7. Load the shuttle
              8. Launch everything back into orbit
              9. Be on your merry way
              1. Haul the Long Range shuttle from Earth into orbit.
              2. Haul the food/water/oxygen/science payloads into orbit
              3. Haul the fuel into orbit
              4. Load the shuttle
              5. Be on your merry way

              See, the thing is, in order to launch something from the Moon

              • Except thats not how we do things - we do not Put a shuttle in orbit, then give it payload, then give it fuel. We put all that in the shuttle at once, and launch it from Earth.

                For a far away mission, each piece of weight you add to the shuttle makes it that much harder to break Earths Gravity, requiring more fuel, which is also adding more weight.

                So the benefit of launching from the Moon is that Sending 8 trips of 1/8th the fuel cost to the moon (and assembling it there) and then launching is going to be le

                • "he benefit of launching from the Moon is that Sending 8 trips of 1/8th the fuel cost to the moon (and assembling it there) and then launching is going to be less fuel costly than trying to send the full 8 parts in 1 piece from Earth."

                  Last I looked gravitational field was a conservative one so I say bullshit to that.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                You're missing a very critical point:
                There is water ON THE MOON. we can make fuel there and not need to haul it off the earth, and it is easir to build something on a surface with some a gravity.

          • Can't we use materials that exist on the moon instead of sending them from Earth? We could probably dig some tunnels there and live under the ground, safe from the radiation. Solar panels, lights, plants, water, air. We could bring microchips, perhaps some plastics from earth, get the metals and fuel from the Moon. Also having a colony there wouldn't hurt human kind.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Tetsujin (103070)

              Can't we use materials that exist on the moon instead of sending them from Earth? We could probably dig some tunnels there and live under the ground, safe from the radiation. Solar panels, lights, plants, water, air. We could bring microchips, perhaps some plastics from earth, get the metals and fuel from the Moon. Also having a colony there wouldn't hurt human kind.

              It's hard to imagine any kind of mining operation on the moon being economically viable at this point in time. For what we'd have to pay (and you can think of this as a cost of "money" or of "energy" - the two concepts are equivalent to some degree) to send work crews (robotic or human) to the moon, provide them with necessary supplies, maintain them... extract the raw materials, refine them, turn them into a useful form... Sending rockets up periodically to resupply them... At the present time it would

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by R3d M3rcury (871886)

                "Even if you figure in the cost of launching that built equipment from Earth instead of from the Moon, the benefits of not stretching our supply chain to (or beyond) practical limits during the preparatory phase of an interplanetary expedition make up for any extra cost of launching from Earth."

                Personally, I'm not all that interested in an "interplanetary expedition" just yet.

                One of the big questions is, "Why should we have a manned space program--or any space program at all? Why send men when we can send robots cheaper, easier, and safer?" Now we all have our etherial answers about the good of mankind and science and propagating the species and yadda yadda yadda. And all that is well and good. But I think it would far better serve our purpose to get some people living and doing work in space.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            It would be cheaper, and easier. The moon has some gravity;which makes assembly much easier.

            Since the moon has water, the can create fuel right there and nt ahve to carry very much of the earth, but in orbit they have to take up all the fuel the will need.

            Maybe you should think this through?

          • I imagine a lunar space elevator is feasible using today's technology.

            The vast bulk of the materials would be on the moon (fuel and coarse structural components can be produced on the moon). Spaceships need not be so sturdy if they don't crash into thick atmospheres. Specialty parts would be produced on earth and shipped up to low lunar orbit. Manufacturing of a lunar space elevator and bulky parts could be done on the moon. They would be shipped up to Lmo by the elevator.

            The neat thing about this is that
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Pointless? That's pretty much the reason you don't design interplanetary vehicles. :) Go and look at the space shuttle. Now look at the space shuttle compared to the size of the fuel tanks needed to lift it into orbit. I'll wait. Hell I'll even give you a link. http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/multimedia/photos/sts-79/79p-065.jpg [nasa.gov] Notice anything? The space shuttle is pretty small compared to all the fuel required to break orbit isn't it? The fuel required to leave moon orbit is astronomically

      • by whois_drek (829212) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:58PM (#30091712)
        There's nothing worth "getting" at the Lagrange points, or geosynchronous orbit, or any number of places. That doesn't mean it's not worth going there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by khallow (566160)
        That was a pretty ignorant post on He3 mining due to the exaggerated cost estimate, lack of local manufacture, and ignorance of other materials found in lunar regolith.

        Even if it does require half a million tons of equipment, that equipment can be made on the Moon rather than launched from Earth at $40k or even $4k per ton. Also it's worth noting that current GDP contribution from natural gas and electricity in the US is somewhere around $200 billion dollars. If you can get the overall fusion power infra
        • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:25PM (#30092038) Homepage

          That was a pretty ignorant post on He3 mining due to the exaggerated cost estimate, lack of local manufacture, and ignorance of other materials found in lunar regolith.

          Given that the moon is composed of largely the same minerals as those on earth, you'd have to massively deplete our terrestrial resources before mining the moon became even *remotely* cost effective.

          Even if it does require half a million tons of equipment, that equipment can be made on the Moon rather than launched from Earth at $40k or even $4k per ton.

          Uh... from what, exactly? Or do you plan to bootstrap and entire manufacturing sector on the moon and *then* start mining He3?

          If you can get the overall fusion power infrastructure including lunar mining to under say, a couple of trillion dollars, then you could switch over the US electricity and heating infrastructure completely to lunar-fueled fusion power. My view is that this mining infrastructure could probably be made and deployed for hundreds of billions of dollars *or less* once manufacture is established on the Moon.

          Wait wait... let me get this straight. *If* you can build a fusion power infrastructure *and* lunar mining, including an *entire manufacturing base on the moon*, for under a *couple of trillion dollars*, a moonbase is suddenly worthwhile?

          Wow. That's a really convincing argument, there. ::rollseyes::

          Or we could just get Hydrogen-Boron fusion working, which runs at lower temperatures, and uses materials easily available on earth.

          But you're right. I'm sure your idea is much better.

          All of these would be byproducts of such a vast mining operation. Revenue from this operation would be more than just He3.

          None of which is worth the cost of retrieval. All are exceedingly common, save for helium, which, conveniently, is a by-product of H-H fusion, and so if we ever did manage to develop controlled fusion, we could just make it ourselves.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by khallow (566160)
            I didn't consider any of your other points interesting. If I build hundreds of billions of dollars in lunar infrastructure, then it's a safe bet that I'll develop considerable lunar manufacture. And I wouldn't make such an investment unless corresponding Earth sources either were depleted or didn't exist (as in the case of Helium 3) in adequate quantities in the first place.

            Or we could just get Hydrogen-Boron fusion working, which runs at lower temperatures, and uses materials easily available on earth.

            This is a killer and one of the big problems now for anything coming from space. Namely, why go to space to get something, if there's a

          • by jfdawes (254678)

            None of which is worth the cost of retrieval.

            Except for one thing. If you want to build an infrastructure in space, getting materials off the moon is far cheaper than getting the same materials off Earth. If you're planning on a large enough infrastructure, spending a couple of trillion on moon mines may become the smart thing to do.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by apoc.famine (621563)

            The moon is NOT "composed of largely the same minerals as those on earth". It's got far less metals and useful stuff than earth. As far as we can tell, the moon is the splashed-off surface of the earth, after an impact with another body.

            The heavy, useful stuff like metal didn't really make it to the moon in any good quantity - it's mostly the lighter silica that the upper crust is made up of. Recall that most of our metals come from mines - those holes which go deep into the ground.

            If you w

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by hazem (472289)

              Your point about the composition of the moon makes sense, but your citing mines going deep doesn't.

              The deepest mine is about 4km, and compared to the Earth's diameter of 12.7k km, that's not very deep. To scrape enough mass off the surface of the Earth to make the moon, you'd probably be going deeper than most mines.

              However, I suspect that while there are rich veins of metal in the surface of the Earth, most of the metal is below the surface, in the mantle and the core. But none of our mines go anywhere n

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:01PM (#30091756) Homepage

        We all know that the reason to have a moon base is to build a libertarian utopia [wikipedia.org].

        Some actual serious reasons:
        1. We'd get off this rock for more than a quick visit. If you're looking at major achievements of humanity, I'd think that would definitely rank somewhere significant.
        2. Because we'd be off this rock, we'd have a good environment to test handling that sort of thing from an engineering standpoint, with the possibility of a much more manageable return if something were to go wrong. Important questions like "how do we handle the issue of solar radiation", "Can we grow enough plants in controlled environments to sustain an off-Earth colony", and so forth.
        3. Heck, I'd pay good money to walk on the moon.

        In short, this sort of thing isn't about making cash, it's about taking yet another small step for mankind. Yes, that requires looking past your lifetime, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

        Water is good news. I'm sure there's going to be lots of water reclamation equipment for any base we do end up building, but having external sources of water is a definite plus.

        • In short, this sort of thing isn't about making cash, it's about taking yet another small step for mankind. Yes, that requires looking past your lifetime, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

          I totally agree with you, unfortunately until you figure out how this can be used to win in the next election cycle it's just not going to happen any time soon.

        • A source of water provides a much bigger gain than merely being a source of something to drink (and breathe). It can be used as propellant. Propellant is everything in space travel. You need roughly ten kilos of propellant for every kilo you launch into orbit from Earth. For the trip to Mars, you would need: propellant to do the Earth-Mars transit, propellant to enter into Mars orbit, propellant to descend to the Martian surface, propellant to ascend back into Mars orbit, propellant for the return trans
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by StikyPad (445176)

        It's better for us as a society to try new things than to be paralyzed in debate over cost/benefit analysis.

        A base on the moon is a good interim step, learning to crawl before we walk, and while it may not have any known payoffs in material gains, the increased knowledge will be priceless. Further, it's a lot easier to resupply and make significant changes on the moon than on a distant planet.

        There's a reason we test designs on earth as much as possible before we launch them, and it's the same reason we sh

      • Re:Whats the hold up (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:44PM (#30092214) Homepage

        there is *nothing* on the moon worth getting

        Your statement may prove similar, to Bill Gates' famous predictions regarding 640k memory... How do you know, for the Moon does not have expensive commodities to mine? It is hardly explored — up until recently, we didn't even know, there is water on its surface!

        You are lacking imagination... How about vacation-destination for those, who want to experience five times lower gravity? How about retirement homes for people, too frail to move on their own on Earth — they may be able to dance on the Moon? Technics may appear exploiting the low gravity for therapies for, say, spine-injuries (such as when a person needs to re-learn, how to walk). Barring major world-conflicts, we might be able to have all or some of that within 40-60 years.

        Lower gravity may also allow for some new manufacturing methods... You name it...

        So, medicine, novelty, mining, manufacturing, what else? Oh, science! What will the scientists, able to dig a space body literally under their feet, be able to find out about Space in general, and Solar System in particular? What discoveries — some of them even with prompt practical applications — await?

        • by Dhrakar (32366)

          Plus, we can also have a large radio telescope that is shielded by the moon itself from all the stuff we broadcast on Earth. Not only that, but just the knowledge that we have people living and working on the moon may be enough to get folks to remember that there is more to this existence than just grubbing around in the mud.

        • by relguj9 (1313593)
          Launch platform too.. I'd imagine that launching a rocket off of the moon would cost much less fuel than launching one from Earth and that it would be easier to maintain a sustainable base on the moon than floating in space. You could probably also construct and launch a much heavier Mars exploratory craft from parts shipped to a moon base than you could from Earth.

          These things would be expensive, but if we had a sustainable / expanding base there it would get cheaper and easier over time.
        • there is *nothing* on the moon worth getting

          Your statement may prove similar, to Bill Gates' famous predictions regarding 640k memory... How do you know, for the Moon does not have expensive commodities to mine?

          Because we know A) the cost of materials on Earth, and B) the cost it takes to get materials back from the Moon. Comparing 'A' to 'B' one discovers that there is not one single material on Earth whose cost 'A' isn't a fraction of its cost 'B'. There could be a cubic mile of gold in LEO (which is an

          • by mi (197448)

            The costs of space travel would have to drop by four or five orders of magnitude before any of that becomes barely affordable for Bill Gates and others of his financial stature, and another couple of orders of magnitude before

            Low-ranking millionaires can already go to the Space Station — one at a time. If the costs drop simply by 5-10 times (or did you mean binary orders of magnitude), it will not be unfeasible for a group of such people to travel to the Moon — getting on and off that rock is mu

      • Re:Whats the hold up (Score:4, Informative)

        by Toonol (1057698) on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:44PM (#30092234)
        It's a far better staging point for interplanetary launches than Earth is. Not as good as high orbit, but a large moon base may be arguably more practical and economical than a large orbital base.
      • how much has been spent building religious monuments and buildings? what is gained fom the expenditure?

        not everything in life is an actuarial table that decides what to do with your time. some goals promise upfront 0% capital return, yet are perfectly acceptable. because the return on the investment is abstract

        why spend your weekend mountain climbing? all that time, money, and risk.. for a renewed sense of self

        so why go to the moon?

        maybe because there's something in us yearning to get off earth? worth quadr

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Science, deep mission launches, tourists, exploration, experience in space habitation, robotic testing ground, and so on.

        of course, there are the whalers:
        " we're Whalers On The Moon, we Carry A Harpoon, for They Ain't No Whales so We Tell Tall Tales.."

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Nothing except for possibly lots of Uranium/Plutonium for use in space exploration, Rare Earth minerals (which may causes wars/world war to be started in the next 5 years), the ability to launch a number of sats at high speeds cheaply, a new tourist location for Billionaire (who would then fund a lot of this), New Robotics that come back to Earth and on to mars, the ability to test equipment prior to sending to mars, the ability to put lasers, rods from gods, etc if needed, or even better yet, stop others f [yahoo.com]
    • Space 2099

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What's the hold up?

      Sadly, it is the elephant in the room; Mineral Rights.

      Capitalism, will eventually rear its ugly head on this one. We know there's water, as well as salts, metals, He3.... With the amount of clout Corporations have, and the number of 'elected representative' they've put into office, we won't be going to the moon until the powers that be have sorted it all out in the back room. Altruism, and space exploration for the benefit of mankind is on the down swing. Economics, by way of profits, has

      • by Dr. Evil (3501)

        China has something to prove, so they'll probably be next.

        The space race was always politics. When the cold war ended, there was no more tech race. There never was any altruism, except on the part of the scientists, astronauts/cosmonauts.

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        What's the hold up?

        Sadly, it is the elephant in the room; Mineral Rights.

        Bah! Small potatoes, I tell you...

        There's sovereignty at stake. Remember the Larkin decision?

      • "regardless of what else is discovered."

        Bin Laden?
    • Yeah! Don't first ask what the actual point is! Go!
      We can always make up a reason for it, when we're there.

      </sarcasm>
    • Base on the moon!

      How did it get there? Secret data. Pictures of the Moon. Secret Data, never before outside the Kremlin. Man’s first base on the Moon.

  • Drill baby drill! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Friday November 13, 2009 @03:36PM (#30090680) Homepage
    So now we need to get up there with some drilling equipment and figure out if there's actually water beneath the surface or if the only water on the moon is trace amounts leftover from the occasional comet impact.
    • by Rei (128717)

      If you do the math, there's not much water there. A crater ~80 feet by ~13 feet, and the plume only showed evidence for about 25 gallons of water. That's ~150ppm. Better than the ppb quantities that were previously known, mind you...

      • That's a good point. And for that sort of water, how much ACTUAL water could you send up in place of the industry needed to extract it from the soil? Last I knew, water was pretty recyclable.

        25 tons of machinery to process lunar regolith to extract water, or 25 tons of water? Given how machinery is prone to fail at times, I'd go with the water and an aggressive recycling program. Hell, for the cost of the machinery, you could easily send more water. That stuffs pretty much free on earth. I bet you'

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      "detected more than 100 kilograms in the part of the plume it observed."

      And they couldn't see the vast majority of the plume.
  • Where there is water there is life...and death! Death to all who disturb the moon water guardians.

    Okay seriously, this is pretty big news. Kudos to NASA for another successful mission!
  • Moonshine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Conchobair (1648793)
    Anyone else really want to use this water to make liquor? Even if coke just bottled it, I'd drink some moon water.
    • The only downside would be the absurdly high price... Imagine a 750ml bottle of Scotch made from Lunar Water(tm), with a price tag of $5.2 Million USD... $500k per ounce... $5k per drop... But I'd bet it'd sell like hotcakes!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cmiller173 (641510)
      Given the opportunity, I'd brew a batch of beer with it. Boiling point on the moon is a lot lower though, hop utilization is going horrible. Definitely going to need a pressurized dome for this to work.
    • by natehoy (1608657) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:01PM (#30090980) Journal

      Greetings, Sir or Madam.

      I have managed, through sources connected to major aerospace corporation, to collect a small sample of the water of moon and I can assuring you it is both refreshingly also delicious.

      Do not listen to the naysayers who undoubtedly assure that such a beverage must be much expensive for the average person can afford! It is most assuredly not that way!

      I have decided to assist them in the funding of their next expedition to moon by selling some of water that was returned from the last expedition. The aerospace company is located in small country in southern Africa, so you must comprehend there are bribes and other politics involved extracting an amount for your purchase and enjoyment.

      However, I can assure you that the water is pure and safe, ready to drink, and unaltered. Through amazing coincidence, it contains all of the same chemicals found in most spring water, so it is most assuredly beneficial to your consumption use.

      If you are interested in such opportunity, please reply soonest and I will arrange to have a sample sent to you. I may need small amount sent in cash, and if sample is of proven quality to you we may further discuss additional quantities.

      I await eagerly your reply.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      I'm guessing it tastes like . . . . water.

      Don't get me wrong I'm sure there would be a hell of a market for the stuff, but despite having tried vodka or bottled water made from glacial water, stream water, tap water, magic water, or any other water you might think of, they all tasted pretty much the same.

      The only reason I buy bottled water these days is that it's already conveniently packaged. I go to the gym sometimes (ok, I admit I went every day for the first month after I signed up and more recently ha

  • I mean will Lunar Springs really be able to compete in the bottled water sector? Will I be able to choose between filtered and "Some Regolith"?
  • , but it is safe to say Cabeus holds water

    Or, maybe it did hold water... until the impact.

  • Mining (Score:5, Funny)

    by PolarBearFire (1176791) on Friday November 13, 2009 @03:58PM (#30090924)
    Finally! Something we can mine the Moon for. This will spur space competition to get this valuable resource. I can't wait for my first sip of $10000 Evian Moon Mineral Water.
    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Man, someone's going to be *pissed* when they find out their "moon water" actually comes from a tap somewhere in Jersey.

  • When they say ice and water, are they talking about the stuff you can fill up your canteen and go, or is there something else in it that would make it undrinkable?

    I ask because Mars has its ice caps, but as I understand it's just dry-ice (frozen CO2) that would make for an awesome Halloween party effect, but obviously won't sustain any sort of life.

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      "When they say ice and water, are they talking about the stuff you can fill up your canteen and go, or is there something else in it that would make it undrinkable?"

      Plenty. Probably, heavy metals and other inorganic contaminants.

      But it should be easy to filter them. Even if you have to break down water to hydrogen and oxygen, it'll still be cheaper than hauling water all the way from the Earth.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by alexborges (313924)

      "but obviously won't sustain any sort of life."

      You clearly have never been to Berlin.

    • by natehoy (1608657) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:11PM (#30091124) Journal

      They have found water, as in H2O, not CO2.

      It may or may not be mixed with anything narsty (I'd lean toward "almost certainly does"), and it may or may not exist in sufficient quantities to be useful.

      However, this is still a potentially significant discovery. If a future expedition discovers that there's enough water up there, it could make lunar bases easier to build. After all, water is probably the single heaviest thing you'd have to carry up for a lunar base. If a ready supply is already there, that's a big start, even if you have to develop some technologies to scrub the nasties out of it before you can drink it. It's also an important building component if you want to use local materials to, say, build protective walls over your delicate settlement. Lunar adobe brick made of local dirt and local water, for example. Then you wouldn't care what contaminants are in it, as long as it could be used to solidify bricks.

      • by jhfry (829244) on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:06PM (#30091802)

        Better yet... H2O has a great O element... and you can breathe it!

        So, suppose you could drill down and hit a well of ice. A bit of solar energy pumped into that frozen mass yields liquid water, a bit more gives hydrogen and oxygen. Now you have fuel (fire) and air and water. Earth will be the tough element to obtain. I don't imagine that moon soil is all that good for planting, and most plants need nitrogen that may not be easy to come by on the moon.

        Either way... water far more valuable when you realize that its not just water but O and H too.

        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Good point.

          I'm not so sure about the "fire" bit, since burning Hydrogen for fuel requires recombination with Oxygen, so you're back to square one with less energy than you started with in solar energy to start with...

          But it is efficient storage, so you could H2 and O2 tanks to fuel your vehicles, for example, and only have to have one mother of a huge solar array to collect the energy necessary to make it...

          • by jhfry (829244)

            Actually thats exactly what I was thinking... sure you need to supply O to the equation to burn the H... but thats exactly what they do in rockets to get things into space in the first place.

            If they can use solar energy on the moon to create liquid H and O to refuel spacecraft it could provide a much needed boost into the outer solar system. Using solar energy directly doesn't yet give a lot of thrust (as far as I understand it) so it can take a long time for a spacecraft to accelerate.

            Not to mention stori

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          actually.... plants can do just fine in lunar soil

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7351437.stm

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rachit (163465)

          Oxygen is cheap on the moon if you can get a good energy source (ie. nuclear reactor). The moon is mostly silicon / iron / calcium oxide.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      They don't mean dry ice, obviously because they are talking about water.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      It'd require a bit of work before being drinkable, but as other posters have pointed out, water is a specific compound. If they'd said ICE then that is very ambiguous, but the word "water" is quite specific.

    • by jipn4 (1367823)

      The water may just be stored in rock hydrates. In that case, you wouldn't even be able to tell that it's there, it would look just like rocks.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:00PM (#30090970)

    Sing to the tune of "We're Whalers on the Moon":

    There's water on the Moon
    We found it with big boom
    For the probe crashed down
    Impacted the ground
    There's water in the plume!

  • Now she has water to sail on....

    Next up, Whalers on the Moon.

  • by kvap (454189) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:09PM (#30091092)
    They already found water on Mars a few years ago and posted on their website:

    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0504/WaterOnMars2_gcc_big.jpg
    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Someone at NASA has an actual sense of humor. Who knew?

      Oh, right, it's probably the same one who came up with naming a treadmill the "C.O.L.B.E.R.T."

  • by mindbrane (1548037) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:17PM (#30091208) Journal

    I've no background and little education in this area but I do have an off the wall question. I have some understanding of the theory describing the initial impact from which the moon is thought to have come, and, the attendant theory that the formation of the moon may have been one of the first, big contingent happenings that drove the development of life on earth. My question centres on the material that made up the body that smashed into the early earth, added much to the earth's "girth" and gave us the present moon. Is it possible the impacting body was composed of a lot of water? There's questions surrounding how earth came to have so much water. If the impacting body that gave us the moon contained a great amount of water, the impact, formation of the moon, water on earth and the early evolution of life comes into focus as a "just so" story.

    just my loose change

     

    • by smoker2 (750216)
      The moons creation may have added some more elements to the mix, but as oxygen is the 3rd most plentiful gas in the universe (after hydrogen and helium), there's pretty likely to be lots of water everywhere. Having an atmosphere and a magnetic field make it easier for it to stick around in puddles on earth.

      Or are you a creationist troll ?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mindbrane (1548037)

        Or are you a creationist troll ?

        I'm a deeply confirmed atheist, so much so that I can't imagine trolls at all, other than as pejorative labels for creationists. This linked article [nasa.gov] was the first handy bit I could find that speaks directly to my post. /. has run a few stories about the problems with the earth's amount of water and it's origins. If you want a more lore based recounting, Captain Jean Luc Picard narrated a pbs special, titled, IIRC, "Moon's Origins". Picard's aka Patrick Stewart's pronunciation of a French name in a truculent

  • by GreenPhreak (60944) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:34PM (#30091444)

    The dominant paradigm since the Apollo Missions was that the Moon was as dry as a bone.

    However, a paper was put out recently (before the discovery of water a month ago) proposing a model for water and other volatiles venting out of the interior of the Moon. One of the predictions of this model is that there should be significant subsurface water primarily near the poles. The results from Chandrayaan-1 and LCROSS today confirms that this is true--there is significant subsurface water near the poles. The claims that the water is solely on the surface and due to cometary deposition or solar wind interactions are now blown "out of the water".

    This model predicts a lot more water under the surface for potential use in human exploration. w00t!

    Check out the paper here: http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0909.3832 [lanl.gov]

    • Interesting paper. After seeing page 39 I now have an image of moon farts locked in my mind. "Transient
      Lunar Phenomena" indeed.

      It seems like they are saying 'find the largest sources of outgassing and you will find the highest concentrations of water' (at the poles), caused by vapor phase changing to subsurface ice.

  • FTFA: "Along with the water in Cabeus, there are hints of other intriguing substances."

    Hydrocarbons?

    Amino acids?

    Radium?

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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