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Water on the Moon: What Does It Mean for the Human Species?

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We've found water on the moon!  This is one of the most important things ever, it could change the course of the next stage of humanity, and it makes the fact that "Dancing With The Stars" still has fifteen times the Google search volume is almost terminally depressing factor.  Until you realize it's just another reason to get off-world as soon as possible.


The extraplanetary oasis-ness was triple-confirmed by Cassini, the Chandrayaan-1 probe, and a few special guest scans by the Deep Impact system on its way to slam into a moving comet - if satellites could be superstars, this would have been a red-carpet event.  Each detected the unmistakable spectroscopic signatures of oxygen and hydrogen combinations, meaning that water (H20) or hydroxyl (OH) is definitely up there.  Even more interesting it has "weather" variations - more of it near the poles, and it moves around depending on daylight.

This is major moonbase news, as water is the single most difficult component of any manned space mission.  The life-giving liquid has a thousand and one applications other than simply "preventing astronauts dying of thirst" - it's just as essential for machinery as for mankind.  Air can be compressed, and we require far less food (by volume), so the crippling cost of any off-Earth endeavour is carrying the liquids - fuel and water.  The more of either stuff we can find anywhere the better.  Plans for lunar living have so far been based on polar craters, where we suspect deposits of ice remain frozen in shadow (and we'll know for sure shortly when the LCROSS mission blows one of them up to check - informative and awesome) and the idea of endless fields of fluid-harvesting are the stuff of science-fiction.  Which now happen to be true.

The polar plan won't be changed by the news that there's water all over because it's spread out very thinly - about one kilo of water per tonne of lunar topsoil.  But there are many, many tonnes of topsoil, an unimaginable bounty of H20 just waiting to be farmed once we work out how.  Mark your calendars: that's when you'll hear the most idiotic conservation protesters ever to exist. 

You heard it here first: People will protest our evil mining of a dead dusty rock to expand the frontiers of human knowledge, in fact the actual frontiers of where humans are, and it will be hilarious, and they will fail because the sort of people who grow dreadlocks and protest progress are very rarely in a position to influence the space program.  Besides, astronauts have gone far further in the field of water conservation than any whining hippie.  When you can piss into a machine, watch it for a while and drink the result you automatically win any environmental argument.

We'd like to conclude our discussion of this breakthrough with one final statement:  Water on the moon, for god's sake!

The images above show a very young lunar crater on the side of the moon that faces away from Earth, as viewed by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper on the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.


Luke McKinney

Lunar Water

Comments

Luke, you may expect that you will recieve comments like this but I would like to tell you that I thought it was rude to characterize groups of people with 'dreadlocks' or as 'hippies' in such a negative way. There are whiners and people who are idealistic yet closeminded, everywhere... in all groups of people. I could be called a hippie and have had dreadlocks before yet I also read this website often and usually am inspired by and agree with what you have to say. I also belive in exloration and the persuit of knowledge but I think a healthy dialouge about our choices in how to go about this is a good thing to avoid unintended consequences. You as a writer have introduced alot of personality and passion to this subject. Please keep your passion positive cause sometimes it feels that you have a bone to pick with people in a very 'us and them' way that can sometimes come across as sort of smug. Yet I don't think this is your intention. You are quite persuasive and I hope you continue to do a great job while keeping it constructive and mature. Too broad of generalizations only dilute your point and lose supporters.

Thank You,
An Idealist with an Open Mind

Thank you for the great science stuff, but would you please stop railing on "hippies" and environmentalists--it really is getting tiresome. And while I'm at it, If you tell me one more time how "awesome" science is I think I'm going to puke.

Just give me the science, please.

more political correctness gone mad...

excellent article, don't distract from what is important. Water on the Moon, for gods sake!

An expert on this topic warned the hopeful that there is more water in an equal amount of soil, in the driest desert on earth. LOL

It means were 1 step closer to making moon beer! electric cigarette

Luke's articles would be better if he stuck to the facts. I often find many of the very cool articles he comments on ruined by his idiocracy.


It's H2O, not H20. Yes they look the same, but they are not the same. O = good, 0 = bad. H2O = Water, H20 = ?

Rant = over,

good day!

I read about water on the moon in a million places but the funny (and scarily accurate) comments on the jobless protesting moon hippies are hysterical. If I want just the facts with no commentary, I'd read the journals. The commentary is why I come here.

Luke,
I understand that the news about lunar water is amazing and exciting for anyone who even remotely cares about space exploration. However, I think you've jumped the gun a bit with your enthusiasm.

This gem from NASA's APOD page puts a bit of a squash on the idea of "endless fields of fluid harvesting." "Unfortunately, even the dampest scenarios leave our moon dryer than the driest of Earth's deserts." (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090928.html)

It's great news, but don't immediately go assuming it's going to change space travel as we know it.

Does EVERYTHING on the Internet have to be written in a smug, snotty manner?

I never had any doubt about water on the moon, which is demonstrated in the E book The Canduit Project. Could be that I just have an overactive imagination.
Werner Rettig

Mr. An Idealist with an Open Mind,

when you take things, that are not directed at you specifically, personally you have now closed your mind. If you are not that kind of person; he must not have been talking to/about you.

try this at a party or gathering(a fun joke): announce "you know what the problem with women is? they take everything personally." then wait count how many say "well I don't!".

if a generalization is not talking about you, it's not. Grow up.

Wow, it surprises me how immature and stereotypical this article comes across as. Your trying to convince me, the reader, that there is actually water on the moon. So why did they not find water on previous explorations of the moon? Why has it taken so long for them to find water on the moon while they've been scouring away on mars trying to find any little thing that could lead to the potential of a molecule of water there. I don't buy it. And the last few paragraphs don't pursuade me to buy it eather, actually quite the opposite. If you want to be respected by an audience and be viewed as a good profesional news writer you'd be better off sticking to the facts (unless you were aiming to anger "deadlocked hippies" instead of reporting the news of water on the moon). It makes it sound as if this was written by a teenager trying to create a hoax.

That brings me to my second point, considering this isn't a hoax. Do we really want to go to another planet and do the crap that we've done to earth there (there's no denying it, look around, earths' not the same as it was before any major human interaction). There are places on earth that we try to preserve from humans, I'll use caves as an example. People discover these caves, they dig paths through them for tourists and sooner or later, they have to close the cave down to people and build a replica because our interference with the cave ruins it. Would this not be the same for the moon? We can't build a replica to tell our future children "this is what the moon looked like". Why do we have such little respect for it?

I'm not here to bash your comments about hippies. In fact, I think that part was hilarious, but, I will say that I know quite a few hippies, and they are some of the most progress oriented people I know. Every nappy headed dreadlock sporting environmentalist I know fully supports expansion to the moon and new frontiers in space. I think there will be other groups that get in the way far quicker than the tree huggers. There are no trees on the moon. Just dust. Nothing for them to love or worry about being killed. If you start mining for energy or water or anything on the moon, maybe that means we don't have to do it here and tear up what we have on earth. hydrogen3 looks pretty promising. how could you not want that? anyway, i'm just saying, your hatred for hippies might be a little misplaced. at least judging from the ones i know.

Leave the moon alone!! Says the guy who's not a hippie and doesn't have dreadlocks. I mean, it's beautiful. It's people like you who would back drag a bucket over the entire thing until it's a smooth, bland cue ball. Wish I could just send your kind into deep space.

I agree with Scheiner. I've been subscribed to The Daily Galaxy for a few months now, and I love it because it puts the 'journal' content in a fun/easy-to-read, one-minute-of-your-precious-time format, and if any of the topics spark my interest, I can always google it for more info.

Keep up the good work,
I'll continue telling all my friends about your blog.

-Nick

This is a blog, not a major network which has to at least appear as if it has no bias... nothing wrong with throwing some personal opinions on there.

Hell, once you read my blog, Luke's comments about dreadlocks and hippies seem tame - I recently ripped on the Vancouver Critical Mass Bike Rallies and some people started threatening me on Twitter!

Hello people of the world.

So, regarding this topic of how awesome finding water on the moon is, I would like to first agree and then spill my insignificant opinions. To start off, finding water on the moon is a huge step for humans in outer space discovers. This discovery surely does open alot of opportunities for space adventures, and obviously, alot of opportunities for private space sectors. I don't know if NASA is still selfishly frolicking amongst the stars and with god above, but when mining starts to occur on the moon, that slowly becomes a determent to our survival. Think about. Scientists have confirmed that there are basically patches of ice under the surface of the moon so that would require digging. Once the digging starts, there will be consummation of that discovery (H2O). Scientists will perverse and probe their way into the moon and suck it dry leaving it unstable - because let's face it, we all know water is not a renewable source. Once the moon is sucked dry and shriveled up, what will continuously keep our weather patterns from going bipolar and our oceans from swallowing land masses? I don't know to what extent our human curiosities will tempt us to do, but I apologize on behalf of my whining hippie fingers if I prefer the moon to be left alone, floating happily.

That comment by Evan just has to be sock puppetry. It's just too goofy.

The discovery is significant but see what we have done on earth with water resources that are useful for human consumption. Let us forbid any misuse of water existing on moon's surface or near interior there.Let us evolve all technologies carefully on earth for the use the OH present on moon for getting water, hydrogen and oxygen. we need all the three in order to survive there, as H can act as fuel source, O for breathing. I have my suspicion that moon may well be having ozone,O3 form. There must be intense ionising radiations there on the moon as there is no atmosphere. We can utilise ozone too very profitably there. I suspect that some minerals rare on earth may well be more plentiful there on moon, eg. nickel.. But the strategy to utilize them should be worked out internationally to avoid adversely affecting the natural environment on the moon. We have been very bad consumers of resources on earth and such things should not be done for the material benefits through thoughtless exploitation, just to become more materialistic. Let us become more humanistic instead.

Water on the moon, why not? There could even be underground lakes in caverns a few hundred meters below the surface heated by gravitational friction.

I dont think anyone will protest that.

Do you forget that it wont affect any form of life whatsoever?? including humans??

Thats like the stupidest thing ive ever heard, and i heard it from you first.

Hi, i'm asking this just out of curiosity not critism but how do we know that "there's water all over because it's spread out very thinly - about one kilo of water per tonne of lunar topsoil."

Do we know that only because of the section that the Cassini probe scanned and those readings have just been educttlly placed all across the moon or have we scanned varios areas for H2O?

We do not need to sustain life on the moon. Life does not exist there for a reason. We don't need to know if there is water on the moon. It does us no benefit. What WOULD benefit us are those billions of dollars we are wasting on this LCROSSS mission to help bring our country out of this recession... we borrowed money from CHINA to bail us out for God's sake and we are now spending money on bombing the moon??? By the way... the UN forbids any military bombing of cellestial beings... could we be under the guise of "looking for water" on the moon while really testing out our missles? Hmmm.. interesting.

"Hello people of the world.

So, regarding this topic of how awesome finding water on the moon is, I would like to first agree and then spill my insignificant opinions. To start off, finding water on the moon is a huge step for humans in outer space discovers. This discovery surely does open alot of opportunities for space adventures, and obviously, alot of opportunities for private space sectors. I don't know if NASA is still selfishly frolicking amongst the stars and with god above, but when mining starts to occur on the moon, that slowly becomes a determent to our survival. Think about. Scientists have confirmed that there are basically patches of ice under the surface of the moon so that would require digging. Once the digging starts, there will be consummation of that discovery (H2O). Scientists will perverse and probe their way into the moon and suck it dry leaving it unstable - because let's face it, we all know water is not a renewable source. Once the moon is sucked dry and shriveled up, what will continuously keep our weather patterns from going bipolar and our oceans from swallowing land masses? I don't know to what extent our human curiosities will tempt us to do, but I apologize on behalf of my whining hippie fingers if I prefer the moon to be left alone, floating happily."

Thank you, Evan. My sentiments exactly.


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