back to article Scientists produce a map marking water hotspots on the Moon

Scientists have created the first map that traces the water content on the surface of the Moon, in the hopes that it may come in handy for astronauts searching for drinking water or fuel. A paper published in Science Advances on Thursday shows how scientists used data taken from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) – an imaging …

  1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Interesting...just goes to show how little we still know about our nearest celestial neighbour.

    About time we had a mars rover type mission, or even better about time we got another person on the moon again. Its been far too long

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Both would be good but an extended mission for one or more rovers possibly with differing arrays of sensors and experiments would really help pave the way for some kind of permanent station on the moon.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: about time we got another person on the moon again

      Sounds great for a golf course :)

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: about time we got another person on the moon again

        Sounds great for a golf course :)

        Back in the mid nineties, I was offered a job out in Austin, Texas. The company had been contracted to make a video game of Lunar Golf, where the basic premise was golf with less interesting backdrops and super huge hit distances. I would have taken the job, but couldn't, in the end, for visa reasons (or lack thereof). Anyway, about four months after I was out there visiting the company, a well known game magazine (I forget which one - it's not important) published an article about the worst game ideas of all time. Lunar Golf weighed in at #3. Prompting the publisher to rather swiftly drop the project like the lead balloon that it was.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: about time we got another person on the moon again

        Lunar golf course ? You are going to need bigger balls, assuming you can really plant your feet, I am guessing you will be able to hit about 6 times farther than on Earth, if you think 200 yds is doable for most reasonable golfers then trying to see where the ball went when it's approaching the 1200 yd mark will need bigger brighter balls or a tracking device. Plus without air resistance, 6 times may be conservative.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: about time we got another person on the moon again

          "see where the ball went when it's approaching the 1200 yd mark will need bigger brighter balls or a tracking device. "

          Internet of Things Balls!

          The air tight one thanks ---->

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mandator reading

    I presume anyone who plans to go there will have to read most of Frank Herbert's work about water preservation (aka Dune :) ).

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Mandator reading

      It would probably make more sense to read Robert Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Hard Mistress", Asimov's "The Gods Themselves" or Niven's "The patchwork Girl" - all of these give believable scanarios for living permanently on the moon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mandator reading

        It's "harsh mistress," but I like your version better! :-\

  3. Tannin

    Hot and wet

    Why isn't a "watrer hotspot" simply a wet spot?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hot and wet

      I think "hotspot" is just detector jargon. If they were trying to detect aardvarks it would be an "aardvark hotspot."

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Hot and wet

        Oh, great, thanks Big John, now I have to redesign my Aardvark detector.

  4. Dr Who

    Hot and wet

    ... which is great if you're with a woman but ain't no good in the jungle (Robin Williams)

  5. ukgnome
    Pint

    One small step for man....

    to get the water for a micro brewery

  6. MacroRodent Silver badge

    business case

    Combine the availability of water with the availability of He3 on the Moon (it is the optimal fuel for fusion reactors, but very rare on Earth), and building a Moon base starts making a lot more sense.

    1. IT Poser

      There is no business case for Lunar He3 extraction.

      He3 isn't as rare on Earth as most people claim. He3 is expensive on Earth because there is virtually no demand. If we ever get working fusion there will be demand and people will start separating the various isotopes. This will lead to a dramatic drop in terrestrial prices for He3. Shipping costs from the Moon have to drop by at least an order of magnitude, more probably three orders, for any profitable He3 extraction, assuming fusion power plants become available.

      When a business case doesn't have any sizable revenue for at least three decades, it is not a business case.

    2. cray74

      Re: business case

      (it is the optimal fuel for fusion reactors, but very rare on Earth)

      Deuterium-helium-3 has a reaction cross-section several orders of magnitude lower than deuterium-tritium at temperatures that current reactors can easily obtain, and only briefly approaches D-T's reaction rate at ~5-10 billion kelvin. This makes it less than optimal for near-term fusion hardware.

      Regarding a base on the moon to fuel hypothetical fusion reactors, it's worth noting that helium-3 is the decay product of tritium, which has a 12.5-year half life. I'm willing to bet you can brew up helium-3 from dedicated tritium generators (high energy neutron or proton sources to bombard lithium, boron, or magnesium, like fusion and fission reactors, or a proton accelerator) for less money than operating a moon base. Even deuterium-helium-3 reactors will have a substantial neutron flux from their deuterium-deuterium side reactions, so they might breed their own fuel from a lithium blanket.

      1. IT Poser

        Re: helium-3 is the decay product of tritium

        It just so happens the Japanese have plenty of tritiated water they have no use for. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd pay someone to take it off their hands.

  7. Faux Science Slayer

    "Earth's Missing Geothermal Flux" at FauxScienceSlayer website

    Virtually ALL of Earth's groundwater is fission produced, either from Hydrogen and Oxygen daughter atoms, forced into molecules under high heat and pressure, or condensed from molten rock. Earth's atmosphere is constantly being ionized by solar radiation, or blown away by solar wind. Likely lunar water is billion year accretion during full Moon in Earth's vapor trail.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "Earth's Missing Geothermal Flux" at FauxScienceSlayer website

      > Virtually ALL of Earth's groundwater is fission produced, either from Hydrogen and Oxygen daughter atoms, forced into molecules under high heat and pressure, or condensed from molten rock.

      Looks like your frog pills are well past expiration date.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019