All that is created comes of water.
NASA is bombing the moon. Last Friday the Houston doubledomes smashed a two-ton rocket hull the size of a bus into the lunar surface. Four minutes later, a second probe, also hurtling through space at twice the speed of a rifle bullet, kamikazed into the moon.
The bombing commenced after science-types in September announced they had determined that the lunar polar regions contain water molecules. The bombing was intended to suss out just how much water might be lurking beneath the lunar surface.
The bus-bomb attack, on a two-miles-deep crater at the moon’s south pole, was supposed to send a plume of debris into space that could be analyzed for the presence of sub-surface ice. Although party-poopers at the MMT Observatory in Arizona, which closely observed the shelling, claim not to have detected any debris plume, NASA spokespeaks pooh-poohed this naysaying. “We have the data we needed to address the question of water,” said NASA’s Anthony Colaprete.
The twin bombing, intoned a second spokespeak, is “NASA’s first step in a lasting return to the moon.”
Few people on Terra seem much concerned that human beings are now blowing holes in the moon, in expectation of locating water there that can eventually be sucked dry by human colonists. Those who manage to care, are most often those who regard water on the moon as a “holy grail” . . . and are all for human beings running off with it.
The search for water ice on the moon is one of the holy grails of modern lunar exploration . . . .
Finding ice on the moon could be critical to future exploration or even colonization. With unlimited solar power, ice can be converted into water, oxygen, and hydrogen rocket fuel. Finding ice on the moon also would raise the possibility of similar deposits in similar environments across the solar system.
“Water in terms of exploration is very important,” Colaprete said. “Even if we don’t go back to the moon, it is a principle resource throughout the solar system. On Mars and beyond. The old Mars mantra was ‘follow the water.’ And really, that extends in my mind through the entire solar system and the entire universe.”
Even in the lefty blogosphere, where folks routinely pour scorn on such notions as Manifest Destiny and European colonialism, the prospect of human hordes arriving uninvited to pillage the resources of another world is greeted with no little enthusiasm. Here are some recent “thoughts” on the matter, from folks at Daily Kos:
This really is a game changer, especially since it pretty much seals the deal on where we should colonize first. With water on the Moon there simply isn’t any reason to attempt to go to Mars first anymore, since we can now “live off the land” to a much greater extent than we could before . . . I was of the opinion that it would be best to first send people on a manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid, but now that water has been confirmed perhaps it’ll just be best to go 100% towards creating a self-sustaining colony on the Moon, starting from the south pole where the peaks of eternal light are . . . One 2-litre bottle = a dropperfull of water, which isn’t bad at all. Much better than I had ever hoped, actually.
My understanding is that water may be able to be used to derive fuel. Since the escape velocity on the moon (2.38km/s) is about a fifth that of earth (11.186 km/s) it should be easier to launch from the moon than it would be from earth. And if there is a source of fuel there, then awesome.
We will have 2 or three missions to get it right, then the unregulated mining and exploitation of whatever resources the moon has will commence. Should the moon be resource poor, it will be the jumping off stage for missions to Mars to do the same thing. Because the extraction technology will be the basis for the first manned mission to Mars.
Take it for all it is worth.
The moon is much smaller than the Earth, but it is still VERY big. This announcement IS a game changer, because suddenly we’re talking about HUGE amounts of water. Also, this study didn’t talk about much huger water deposits that are thought to exist in some lunar craters, especially near the south pole.
Water on the moon is REALLY IMPORTANT! It means that it is VIABLE to establish a mining and exploration colony there.
The chance to colonize the rest of our solar system is the best chance we have to heal this planet. Would you prefer another open pit mine here or should we mine the asteroid belt?
When I was a young sprout, I read and viewed my share of science fiction. And it was when humans began engaging in rash acts like bombing the moon that the generally benign, but occasionally firm, aliens would arrive to announce that human beings were perfectly free to bugger each other to death on their home world, but if they intended to venture off-world, they were going to have to learn to behave. There was always an assumption, underlying these works, that there existed some galactic community of creatures who had all learned to live together decently, and they were not much interested in any brash upstarts blasting off their home planet to start spreading their shit into space.
When pushed, today’s space conquistadors, these heirs of Columbus and Cortez, assert that such heavenly bodies as the moon and the asteroids are “dead worlds,” and that our raking up of their resources would thereby inflict no harm. Problem is, people just don’t know enough to determine what is and what is not “dead.” When I was a lad, it was “known” that there was no water on the moon, no other planets in the galaxy, no life anywhere in the universe but here. Today, it is “known” that there is indeed water on the moon, planets all over the place, and as for extraterrestrial life . . . we shall see.
Humans who still so narrowly delimit “life” to carbon-based creatures, and who are so stunted in their view of sentience that they persist in asserting that even so marvelously intricate and awake creatures as animals possess neither spirit nor soul nor awareness nor understanding . . . such humans simply aren’t mature enough to step out into space. As I often state, when encountering starry-eyed space enthusiasts, when humans can explore space without ships, then they will be ready to go there. Not before.
Where there is water, there is life. Or at least the potential for it. Among the many things that were not “known” when I was young, but that are “known” now, is the probability that life on this planet was not only seeded by comets, that brought to our world life-bearing amino acids, but that water itself arrived here from space, also via comet.
As there is water on the moon, the moon needs to be left alone. To allow it to be what it may be.
Here are a couple of videos, I send up to the moon, so recently battered and abused. The first is from the late Norwegian jazz singer Radka Toneff. The second is from an August 2009 memorial concert honoring her.