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Thread: Literally MILLIONS of tons of water in craters on the Moon's north pole?

  1. #1
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    Cool Literally MILLIONS of tons of water in craters on the Moon's north pole?

    Hope no one has posted this anywhere yet...

    NASA Radar Finds Ice Deposits at Moon's North Pole

    Of course, news from Chandraayan and LRO has been coming in and has been raising hopes... But so far, at least to my knowledge, the presence of water concerned layers that were just some atoms think.

    Here, they speak of reasonably pure deposits that are meters thick. 600 million tons is the first number. "One Space Shuttle launch a day for 2000 years."

    If this discovery pans out, it's one of the most significant... ever.

    And I mean ever. Because it really opens up the possibility to use the moon as a staging ground for further solar system exploration. Build a bunch of solar collectors, use the electricity to create hydrogen and oxygen from the ice... voila, almost free fuel, either for rockets or for fuel cells.

    Also, I predict the Moon Water Wars. :P

  2. #2
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    If there is that much ice, and I believe LCROSS turned up evidence of a whole range of volatiles and organics too, then the moon may have seen impact induced hydrothermalism at some point. That would make it of astrobiological interest, although more of the 'how far can water and carbon chemistry get under X conditions' kind than the 'there could seriously be alens here' kind.

  3. #3
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    "This relation suggests that the high CPR is not caused by roughness, but by some material that is restricted within the interiors of these craters. We interpret this relation as consistent with water ice present in these craters. The ice must be relatively pure and at least a couple of meters thick to give this signature."

    At the moment - it's an interpretation of a signal - not a direct measurement of Ice.

    Just saying.

    We REALLY need to get a rover in there to play scratch and sniff.

  4. #4
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    Which is why I'm still cautious... "If the discovery pans out"...

    But I'll admit I WANT to be optimistic about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Alexander View Post
    Which is why I'm still cautious... "If the discovery pans out"...

    But I'll admit I WANT to be optimistic about this.
    This is exciting news and more reason to get our heros back up there, or robots if we must.

    [Also, nice pun Don, though, hisotrically, it isn't water we would normally be paning for. ]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Alexander View Post
    Hope no one has posted this anywhere yet...

    NASA Radar Finds Ice Deposits at Moon's North Pole

    Of course, news from Chandraayan and LRO has been coming in and has been raising hopes... But so far, at least to my knowledge, the presence of water concerned layers that were just some atoms think.

    Here, they speak of reasonably pure deposits that are meters thick. 600 million tons is the first number. "One Space Shuttle launch a day for 2000 years."

    If this discovery pans out, it's one of the most significant... ever.

    And I mean ever. Because it really opens up the possibility to use the moon as a staging ground for further solar system exploration. Build a bunch of solar collectors, use the electricity to create hydrogen and oxygen from the ice... voila, almost free fuel, either for rockets or for fuel cells.
    I agree. Should've been a banner head line on the front page of The New York Times.

    But it has flown beneath virtually everyone's radar screens. Even space enthusiasts on forums like this.

    It has been posted here. But I'm happy to see you posting it again as this news isn't getting the attention it should.

    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    At the moment - it's an interpretation of a signal - not a direct measurement of Ice.

    Just saying.

    We REALLY need to get a rover in there to play scratch and sniff.
    Well, that the elevated CPR corresponds so closely to permanent polar shadows makes the ice interpretation pretty strong, in my opinion. But I agree with you, we really do need to send a rover to these possible ice fields.

    Hope the Chandrayaan 1 and LRO news will push lunar rovers higher up on the agendas of various space agencies.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    "This relation suggests that the high CPR is not caused by roughness, but by some material that is restricted within the interiors of these craters. We interpret this relation as consistent with water ice present in these craters. The ice must be relatively pure and at least a couple of meters thick to give this signature."

    At the moment - it's an interpretation of a signal - not a direct measurement of Ice.

    Just saying.

    We REALLY need to get a rover in there to play scratch and sniff.
    We do. I've not got time right now to look through all the press releases, but does anyone know how well these results correlate with the secondary neutron data from LEND?

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    Just asking, perhaps naively here, but I thought that landing anything near the poles of a planet/moon was hellishly prohibitive, and in light of millions of tons, is it that really such a big development? I mean a million ton of waters is pretty big for a man, but ask people in the mining industry how many million tons of water they use any given week.

    Seems to me like a pipe dream, just like 3He
    The impossible often has a kind of integrity the merely improbable lacks. -Douglas Adams


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    Quote Originally Posted by mantiss View Post
    Just asking, perhaps naively here, but I thought that landing anything near the poles of a planet/moon was hellishly prohibitive, and in light of millions of tons, is it that really such a big development? I mean a million ton of waters is pretty big for a man, but ask people in the mining industry how many million tons of water they use any given week.
    The moon only rotates once a month, so accessing its poles isn't much more difficult than accessing its equator. And it's not "hellishly prohibitive"...even for Earth, it's only a few hundred m/s difference. And yes, heavy industry uses large amounts of water, but it doesn't consume much...the water still exists and could perfectly well be reused, there's just little reason to do so on Earth. On the moon, it's a given that waste water will be retained and recycled, not discharged onto the surface. The fact that industry does make heavy use of water means that yes, this is a big development. "Dry" industrial processes are likely possible for most things, but being able to use the familiar processes already highly developed here on Earth would be very helpful.

    And this is all water use on the moon, for things on the moon. Establish orbital LOX/LH2 depots and use lunar fuel to send ice mining missions out to asteroids and other more plentiful but more distant sources of water. Lunar ice deposits could mean easier access to much greater amounts of water, as well as a guaranteed source of water for the first fuel depots...more immediate benefit, and desirable in case there are failures among the first ice mining missions to more remote locations.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantiss View Post
    Just asking, perhaps naively here, but I thought that landing anything near the poles of a planet/moon was hellishly prohibitive,
    The difference between a low equatorial lunar orbit and low polar lunar orbit is about 2.3 km/sec.

    However, from EML1 or 2 plane changes are much less expensive. It certainly isn't prohibitive to reach the lunar poles from EML1 or 2.

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