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back to article NASA sniffs out (yet more) lunar ice

NASA has announced that the Moon's north pole is packing substantial amounts of water ice, lurking in around 40 small craters. The evidence comes from the agency's Mini-SAR (aka Mini-RF) instrument, a synthetic aperture radar which travelled aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The device used "the polarization properties of …

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Joke

Hmmm

With the moon appearing moister than a weekend in Eastbourne, you have to wonder why NASA didn't report this after all the tourists visited 40 years ago...you'd almost think that they went somewhere else.....

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Coat

They did.

It's called "another part of the moon". The north and south poles contain water in craters that cast permanent shadows within, preventing the water-ice from sublimating away an-

dammit I just saw the joke icon. Grr!

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Rain

I, along with everyone else I guess, learnt in school that rain falls from the Moon, so how is the Moon having water news worthy?

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bugs

OK

so follow the water is the search for life from nasa.

http://www.astrobio.net/index.php?option=com_retrospection&task=detail&id=1709

So there could be / was life on the moon ?

So how are we not going to cross contaminate it and our selfs ?

and we thought SARS traveled a long distance fast !

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Gold badge

Life on the moon?

The only form of energy available for life to do anything on the moon is "massive amounts of mostly ionizing solar radiation." Given this, I very seriously doubt there is, or ever was life on the moon.

(Disregard the meagre gravitational energy that Earth provides by tugging on the moon. It doesn’t seem to be nearly enough to melt the core. There also doesn’t seem to be much in the way of interesting chemicals lying about to fuel, or catalyze any life-sustaining chemical reactions.)

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Unhappy

Pity

No-one can be bothered to go and do something with it.

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Unhappy

Do what?

If you took all the estimates of water from both the north and south poles of the moon, there isn't enough water up there to sustain a small colony, let alone refine it for fuel. That's even assuming we could find a way to extract it from the soil. My understanding is that the actual concentration of water per square meter is dismal.

The moon is simply not worth further exploration. (I also have my very serious doubts about Mars's value beyond an interesting place to send robots.) For any colony to be viable anywhere you need two very important things: energy and water. Energy can be had in basically two usable forms: solar radiation or fissionables. Solar radiation is only really useful this side of the asteroid belt, and we've not really don't much hunting for fissionables out there. If we were to find a nice-sized rock with a pile of uranium on it and a bunch of water...then we'd be talking colony. (Geothermal power is available on a few bodies, but they tend to either be inside some miserable radiation belts or horrifically unstable places to be.)

Now Vesta and Ceres...these are relatively close by, and offer some great potential. I'd love to see a few good robotic missions to either or both of these bodies! Maybe they’ll have the magic combination of an exploitable source of power and huge quantities of water!

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title

Still no definitive proof though, just "water would probably give these results".

Still, if it looks like water, smells like water and tastes like water

it could be Fosters.

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Not quite.

Only if the Fosters concerned had been passed through something like the ISS's renowned recycling system first.

Otherwise it would still look, smell and taste like another well-known yellowish liquid.

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Boffin

Units

600 million metric tonnes = 2.7 Lake Windermeres.

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Snort!

Nice one!

One has to wonder which enterprising gentleman from the Orient is going to be the first to pop a well-stocked corner shop and a decent curry-house on the edge of one of those craters for the predictable impending stampede of hungry NASA astronauts? As Chandrayaan-1 is Indian, I'm suspicious that that might be an additional payload on board...After all, a decent Phaal curry'd sure make short shrift of that ice...

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FAIL

That's nor really a lot, is it?

600 million tons.

My swimming pool contains 60 000 litres of water -

1 litre = 1 kilogram

1000 litres = 1 ton

My pool = 60 tons.

Thus: 10 000 swimming pools' worth. Or, about the same amount of water as the pools of the average Johannesburg suburb - excuse me when I say that on an interplanetary scale, that’s not too much to write home about.

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Happy

@ GerryP

Isn't 600 million tonnes divided by 60 tonnes 10 000 000 swimming pools?

Good thing you provided your own fail icon,.

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Anonymous Coward

Running Tracks

That's still only the water contained in the area of 10x 400m athletic tracks to a depth of 3m.

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Anonymous Coward

Metric or Imperial?

An imperial ton is 2000 pounds (~ 909.1 kg). A metric ton is 1000 kilograms. Big difference when talking 600 million tons.

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FAIL

Imkperialism

An imperial ton is 2240 lbs, or 1016kg. A US ton is 2000 lbs. Still, even 16kg is plenty for a few G&Ts. Can they grow the lemons, though?

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Flame

err NASA budget slashed weeks ago?

funny how this interest in the moon comes weeks after the NASA budget for moon exploration was slashed......the NASA folk are desperate to retain their ridiculous budgets when, back on earth, the poor children are starving.....moon dust anyone?

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Stop

Yada yada

Cutting US military spending to sensible levels would pay for all the poor children in the world to have caviar on gold-plated toast every day, and still have enough left over to pay the current space exploration programme several times over.

However, thanks for the most inappropriate "won't somebody PLEEEEEEAASE think of the children" comment for a while. Isn't it time we had a weekly prize for this, Ms. Bee?

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Anonymous Coward

And yet...and yet....

I read it as subtly sarcastic (or -ironic, or -satirical or sommat). However, I've been known to be wrong before, crediting some people with being smarter than other people.

But I'll be pedantic anyway. Will it also pay for the dental work after the kids eat the gold plated toast? Or then again, if the first rounds of said toast consumption consumpted them...

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Boffin

Playing devil's advocate

The obvious question is if it's not a water signal, what else can look like water on an SAR scan?

As for it being formed 1*molecule* at a time by Hydrogen ion impacts from the solar wind this sounds a long *slow* process. Not impossible but *very* unlikely.

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Come see the ice caves of lunua

where the Chinese and Indians set up the first permanent settlements on the moon.

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not real water though is it.

"*One hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom linked by a single bond"

Now that really gets me, why the hell do all the news outlets and even so called science urls, call this 'WATER' its not, as real water has 2 parts hydrogen to one part oxygen atom.

a 1 to 1 ratio of this fluid does not make a real 2 to 1 water supply, and the oxygen fuel cells running the mood wireless mesh etc, run out of juice quicker as a result.

"ravenviz

Units #

Posted Tuesday 2nd March 2010 12:41 GMT

600 million metric tonnes = 2.7 Lake Windermeres.

"

now theres something people can relate to, now nearly 3 lake windermeres seems like a lot , http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/index/visiting/windermere.htm

"Windermere in the Lake District - ten and a half miles long and 219 feet deep - is England's largest lake. Its name comes from the Scandinavian for 'lake of a man called Vinandr'. ..."

its not that much for several years of collonisation does it? especially when you consider my above point...

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WTF?

icetronauts ripping off lunar stalagmites

1998, NASA Johnson Space Center, me from DOE trying to talk to not-invented-here guys. A roomful of smartest-people-in-the-world ran over me for an hour when I told them about how to use the lunar ice, in steam rockets. And, some said I wanted to destroy precious "tree rings of time", the ice layers holding lunar history. Now, of course, I believe them. They better not go there because they would be vandals ripping off lunar "stalagmites" of water-mineral. See http://neofuel.com/inhabit "mad scientist memoir"

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Joke

Memberships for the Lunar Stalagmite Preservation Society still available

But they're going fast.

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