Tuesday, March 2, 2010

600 Million Tons Of Lunar Ice

Recent data analysis from India's Chandrayaan-1 probe has confirmed the presence of water ice in craters near the Moon's poles. The full article can be found HERE on NASA's main website.

If their estimation techniques are correct, the scientists estimate there being at least 600 million metric tons of water ice in the lunar polar region. That is of course spectacularly good news for future bases, and further into the future, colonies, on Earth's natural satellite. That much ice, combined with careful recycling and management, could both provides water, oxygen, and rocket fuel for manned endeavors there for many decades.

And of course, ironically, this comes on the heels of the Obama administration killing off any prospect for returning to the Moon in the short term. We can now see much more clearly how feasible a long-term manned presence on the Moon can be, only to have the prospect of establishing such an outpost pushed out of our reach to at least until the mid-2020s. Its not that the other projects the new administration want to pursue aren't worth doing, but actually opening up a brand new world to humanity would seem to be the better choice of a long range goal, in my opinion.

Oh well. One thing I should suggest to NASA (not that i think anyone there will actually read this): as long as you're underwriting various private space endeavors and X-prize like contests, how about underwriting a sample-return mission for the lunar ice? We can learn definitively what's in it and probably how it was formed. plus the mission may just help to scout out a possible future manned landing site...

1 comment:

Jack Heart said...

California historic preservationists recently registered the remains of the Apollo 11 mission in the so-called Sea of Tranquility as a "Historical Resource."