NASA finds reservoir of water ice on the Moon!

By Phil Plait | November 13, 2009 10:27 am

LCROSSNASA has found a significant amount of water ice on the Moon!

Holy Haleakala!

On October 9, the LCROSS spacecraft watched as a Centaur rocket booster slammed into the south pole of the Moon, hoping to determine if any water ice exists under the lunar surface. The idea is that over millions of years, comet impacts and other events have brought water to the Moon. Most of it goes away over time, but if any water happens to accumulate at the bottoms of craters at the poles, where the Sun never shines, it can stay put, frozen forever in shadow. By impacting a spacecraft into the Moon, it can eject the ice where it gets hit by raw sunlight. The water breaks down into hydrogen and hydroxyl molecules (OH-), which can be directly detected.

lcross_spectraThe target crater, Cabeus, has a temperature on its floor of -230 Celsius, cold enough to store ice. The Centaur slammed into it at high speed, making a new crater about 20 meters across and splashing debris over an even bigger area. A plume went up and out of the crater, and it was that tower of ejected material that had the telltale signs of water. The infrared spectrometer on LCROSS definitely detected absorption lines from water, and the ultraviolet spectrometer saw it in emission. Not only that, the emission got stronger with time, which clinches the deal! That’s exactly what you expect by a plume containing water.

Wow.

The amount of water they found in the plume was a couple of hundred kilograms in total, but that indicates there is a lot more still lying on the surface. They don’t know how much exactly just yet; NASA wanted to release this news as soon as they were sure they had definite results, but there is still much to do. Where did this water come from? How long has it been there? How accessible is it to future astronauts? These questions and more will, hopefully, be answered in the coming weeks and months as the data are analyzed more thoroughly. So stay tuned. There’s lots more good news to come!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Space
MORE ABOUT: LCROSS, Moon, water

Comments (101)

  1. Sung to the tune of “Whalers on the Moon” from Futurama:

    There’s water on the Moon / We found it with big boom / For the probe crashed down / Impacted the ground / There’s water in the plume!

    Yes, I’m that much of a nerd that that was the first thing that sprung to mind.

  2. I think about the only places in the US that weren’t “disappointed” by the anti-theatric collision of LCROSS were the minds of scientists. I know that here at Goddard the auditorium erupted in cheers.

    And, I think most of scientists knew that just because there wasn’t a big plume making for a big show that that didn’t mean big science wasn’t happening.

    Look Ma! Water!

  3. Let’s go lunar skating!

    Thanks for posting while traveling, Doc. You’re the best.

  4. Dave Wiley

    The sad irony is that the water is in the form of blood. LCROSS hit the last surviving moon whale. (sniff)

  5. Did anybody ask the moon how she feels about us looking at her water, and thinking about exploiting it? It’s bad enough that we declared war on her and bombed her!
    :P

    In all seriousness, I am glad to be hearing more about this. I was afraid the silence was because they hadn’t found anything (which would also have been quite a scientific discovery!).

  6. Sean

    How much gin and vermouth do we need for a crater sized martini?

  7. Awesome! I was just talking about the moon “Bombing” last week with someone, and couldn’t wait to hear the results.

    Just a thought – although I am not annoyed by this, the thought has just occurred to me, doesn’t NASA tend to cross the peer-review boundary and announce results before they have been published? What do y’all think about that issue? I don’t doubt the results, but this is fairly big news and it would suck if a review process found problems with their conclusion and it had to be retracted…

  8. Brian Gefrich

    I just won $20. Thanks Phil.

  9. Techydad: You beat me to it. Everybody eles: Great news!!!!!!

  10. Yeah, but what about the cheese…?

    -r.c.

  11. Warofart

    This is just amazing, we have to be considering on putting a lunar base by now right?

  12. spacechampion

    “Significant” amounts to NASA is about 1-2%, like in concrete. The public is going to view NASA like the boy who cried wolf because of this.

  13. Murdats

    @1
    That is exactly what I thought of, I added “wow, now we can send whalers to the moon” to my retweet of this

  14. TDL

    @ daijiyobu – Cheese generally has quite a high percentage of water, so there is still hope! They just were not testing for the other components!

  15. Peter F

    Wow, they just said that they think there’s a chance of organic compounds in this ice…

  16. Now taking reservations for Kuhnigget’s Holiday Spa and Moon Resort.

  17. DrFlimmer

    @ TechyDad:

    Are you really a nerd or a geek? Or both? (I have just watched the video from Phil’s post before this one ;) )

    Btw: Great news. Now the moon landers and colonies will remain in shadow, will never see the sun. Because they must go, where the water is. But don’t forget the minerals one must insert into the water – I don’t think humans are made to process lunar minerals ;)

  18. astronomer24

    If the amount of water was “couple of hundred kilograms in total” in the plume what percent of the total mass of the plume is that? I don’t know what a 20ft crater amounts to.

  19. alfaniner

    I wonder what swimming in 1/6 G is like.

  20. Deacon Blues

    You know, until I read the reason for choosing the impact site, it hadn’t occurred to me -

    NASA hit the Moon where the sun don’t shine!

  21. Stan9FOS

    @ alfanier: I wonder what skiing in 1/6 G is like! Now there’s a vacation sport!

  22. @DrFlimmer,

    I commented on that post also. I consider myself more of a nerd than a geek. Then again, I’ve never been able to get past the “bites heads off chickens” definition of geek. (That would certainly make Best Buy’s Geek Squad more interesting!)

    Also, I wonder how long until someone bottles it and touts the amazing healing powers of lunar materials in pure luner water. Futuristic Lunar Woo!

  23. So that is where the sun don’t shine. :D

  24. Rob Jase

    Can we be certain that someone did not spill Tang while on the moon?

  25. ndt

    I like the way you think, Sean.

  26. evinfuilt

    Let’s get up there and Bottle it!

  27. Adam

    Great news! Can’t wait to see what new devices we create to begin harvesting it. Moon base here we come!

    I have to admit I was a bit worried that they didn’t get the data they were looking for, but it seems they were just being cautious.

  28. Sir Eccles

    I think we need to make a 20c preparation of Lunar water to treat all those werewolves.

  29. @Sir Eccles,

    But first we need to find it using a Lunar dowsing rod. ;-)

  30. Sili

    Millions of years? Don’t be silly.

    It’s the leftover water from the Flood, of course!

  31. Davo

    Hi Phil, didn’t the Indian satellite Chandrayaan already discover water on the moon? Why is this novel?

  32. IR

    I have a dumb question: Because the vacuum on the moon is not absolute and the temperature is not absolute zero, is the ice still evaporating, just at an incredibly slow rate? So slow as to make it basically meaningless for our purposes?

  33. Thomas Siefert

    Cometary Moonaqua™ , Cometary Moonaqua™ , come here and buy your bottled Cometary Moonaqua™

  34. DrFlimmer

    @ IR:

    I would say: yes ;)

    @ Davo:

    You are right, but unlike in the previous finding, in this case the water is concentrated in rather huge amounts. We could be able to mine it rather efficiently. The Indian finding was more like a drop of water distributed over a large area. And it was evaporating quickly. The “new” water stays where it is.

  35. Geoff

    Tim Siedell on Twitter echoed my reaction as well:

    “Now that I know there’s water on the moon, your natural spring water from the Swiss Alps bores me.”

  36. It looks like it is not all about the water…from the press release: “there are hints of other intriguing substances”
    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/m…er_results.html

    Colaprete at the conference: “and there’s a whole lot more beyond the water so that’s the exciting part in my mind, it’s not only about the water, there’s actually a lot more here that we’re gonna be talking about in the months ahead looking” with the guy on his left with a monalisesque smile in his face…hmm…almost gives me the impression that they happier about that “extra” than with the discovery of water itself… :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOpXMJdZGHc…_embedded#at=54

    What can it be? Did I miss the answer to this?

  37. coolstar

    Given all the tremendous hype surrounding this mission, I was never in doubt that SOME water would be announced. Personally, I’m waiting for a peer-reviewed paper of these findings before I put much credence in them. As for any utility for future astronauts, we’ve known the answer to that for a long time: little to none. Why if there is any water there at all, IS it there! Cold traps, no sunlight, EVER! (well, perhaps not quite ever, given lunar libration. I’d like to see a paper describing just how long these craters have been in darkness, accounting for the late bombardment period also.). No sunlight of course means that any mission to mine the water would need a nuclear powered infrastructure. See any of that lying around? See even any NASA PLANS for working reactors on the moon? Nope. This water, if real, is a very interesting scientific curiosity, nothing less, nothing more. Questions such as how it got there, lifetimes, what else could be there etc. are quite important scientifically but not from a practical viewpoint. By the time it could ever be exploited, we could have all the water we want from a fraction of the price from NEOs.

  38. 35. IR Asks: “Because the vacuum on the moon is not absolute and the temperature is not absolute zero, is the ice still evaporating, just at an incredibly slow rate?”

    Probably not, at least not at a measurable rate since it’s most likely covered with quite a bit of dust. There are a lot more meteorites hitting the moon than comets and all those ejecta plumes have to settle somewhere.

    - Jack

  39. geoffrey

    @coolstar
    http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-amp-space/article/2009-08/nasa-successfully-tests-nuclear-reactor-power-future-moon-bases
    They might be a long way off(if ever at this rate) but they are thinking about nuclear. It is in the plan.

  40. So I am curious, how is it that we “miss” the water for all of these years? Because it was in a “shadow?” Maybe we should have sent up a lunar wave-runner instead of a lunar rover? :)

  41. JakeR

    As a space-science booster, I’m impressed, but coolstar @42 is right. It means virtually nothing except as a scientific curiosity. If the water is from a comet, there will no doubt be some hydrocarbons, too, but don’t expect to open a coal mine there, either. The whole idea of a Moon base is a bit silly, both because it would be hellishly expensive to establish and operate and because it is an extraordinarily inefficient way-station for putting a manned mission on Mars, which is even worse in terms of cost and risk, especially from radiation.

    Let NASA do what it does best and most cheaply, robotic exploration, and let Ben Bova et al. engage in the hard-science fiction.

  42. Gavin Flower

    @JakeR

    For the long term approach to Mars exploration, a Moon base makes a lot of sense.

    There is a lot of raw material on the Moon that can be used for shielding a space ship, and fuel for its engines.

    For a one off trip to Mars, I would agree that a Moon base is not required. However, once you start considering lots of journeys to Mars and back, a Moon base becomes an economic necessity.

    For extensive manned exploration of our Solar System, we need a Moon base. To get a Moon base up and running to be significantly useful for the exploration of other planets, requires many years, so we can’t afford to wait until a year or so before we need it!

  43. Ben

    “…[If] any water happens to accumulate at the bottoms of craters at the poles, where the Sun never shines, it can stay put, frozen forever in shadow.”

    Or at least until some insensitive clod slams a rocket booster into it!

  44. coolstar

    Gavin Flower@ 45: Sorry, but that’s just completely wrong. You don’t leave one gravity well to go 400,000 km and then land on ANOTHER one. The entire problem with trying to exploit the moon is YOU HAVE TO LAND SLOWLY and that’s hard. Resources on NEOs are likely to be cheaper to exploit by at least a few orders of magnitude. That’s the key to opening up the solar system. The deltaV to get to and from Phobos and Deimos is even less than it is to the moon, and this is also true for lots of NEOs. The moon is a stepping stone to nowhere, and will remain so, until the solar system is opened up thru the exploitation of easier to reach resources. Then, it’ll be a nice place to play.

  45. rasselas21

    What are the odds of finding living (or fossil) organisms in that ice? It could be asteroid carried bacteria from earth (or even mars), or perhaps from the comets themselves. As for 1%-2% concentration of water being trivial… not if it contains fossil life (or just significant precursors to such). Do you think robots are currently sufficient to the task of detecting odd forms of life in water (whether earth-like or not)… if not on the moon then on mars or elsewhere?

  46. Damon
  47. Scott Smith

    Oh great. So now we’ll have to deal with those Loony ice miners chunking rocks at us sometime in the future… sigh… if only Robert Heinlein were alive to appreciate the irony.. ;-)

  48. Check out Google’s new Doodle in celebration of this find.

  49. Al

    Where were all the environmentalists when they decided to destroy the moon’s pristine landscape?

  50. Kevin F.

    Sound like its time for a sample return mission.

  51. Hadn’t they found water on the moon before? I didn’t think this was anything new.

  52. rasselas21

    Excellent idea Kevin F.

  53. @ rui borges:

    It looks like it is not all about the water…from the press release: “there are hints of other intriguing substances”

    Oh, boy! Another conspiracy!

    And Coolstar and JakeR are permanently banned from my Moon Spa.

  54. Jack Mitcham

    #53:

    I came here to point out Google’s doodle as well. Cool stuff!

  55. StevoR

    Awesome news! Turns out LCROSS wasn’t so disappointing after all then! 8)

    Plus Friday 13th has turned out to be a lucky day LCROSS wise too. :-)

    (BTW. No post on the superstitious Fri 13th stuff yet, BA? I’m surprised.It is Friday over there in Yankland ain’t it? ;-) )

    @ 49. coolstar Says:

    The moon is a stepping stone to nowhere, and will remain so, until the solar system is opened up thru the exploitation of easier to reach resources.

    I disagree. I think there’s at least five good reasons to go to the Moon – just for starters :

    1. Helium three which could be a fuel of the future.

    2. Water ice, possibly minerals – we may find that extracting ores from the Moon works cheaply and easily and, of course, won’t have the environmental or social issues we get on Earth. Uranium mining on the Moon, for instance, could help stop the worries about radioactive elements being launched from Earth, avoiding the sort of protests that Cassini for instance suffered with its RTG component. Maybe we could actually build such spacecraft and launch them from the Moon itself?

    3. The Moon also offers a close, stable low gee, hard vacuum environment which is could have its advantages for some industrial processes – and a wide range of temperatures. Ditto. The Moon would also be an ideal place for using solar power : long days, no clouds (or air) in the way, huge tracts of land available and some locations with permanent sunshine – polar craters.

    4. The opportunity to practice colonisation and artificial ecological sustainability techniques and learn how to create artificial biomes (think the “Biosphere II” experiment) more rigourously than on Earth and perhaps more accurately – for planetary environments than space stations but in a way that may be more ethically responsible than on Mars – *if* Mars has some life forms of its own.

    5. Dare I suggest tourism? No seriously, if places like Antartica and Mt Everest are becoming tourist sites of sorts (& they are) then why not the Moon too? You can even fly on the Moon under your own power as Asimov (& others) discussed in one or two novels and the romantic possibilities are .. intriguing. ;-)

    Now all we need is to get the fungineers designing the Lunar theme park… :-)

    PS. It’d be great for us to go to Mars and the asteroids esp. Near Earth Asteroids & comets also and this is not a case of “either /or” but “plus & also!” :-)
    —–
    We’re whalers on the Moon,
    We carry our harpoons
    But there ain’t no whales
    So we sing tall tales
    And (? act like drunk baboons?)

    - ‘Futurama’ the Lunar epsiode (Ok I forget the last line there ..& what if anything that ep was titled. )

  56. Alan

    With the exception of NASA, who gives a rip about water on the moon? Sounds like they’ll end up with more tax dollars that will end up in a black hole.

  57. The Moon just became a whole lot more colonizable.

    Brandon
    Just South of North
    http://www.justsouthofnorth.com

  58. Mike

    Can someone help me interpret the near-IR graph in the article Phil linked to?

    The caption for this graph: http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/402250main_LCROSS_results8_full.jpg says that the yellow bars are the water absorption bands and the red line is the model of a dust cloud sans water.

    If we’re comparing the dots with error bars to the red line, it looks like there is absorption (or at least a departure from the red line) in the blue areas of the chart and not the yellow.

    Also the second yellow bar doesn’t go all the way to the top of the chart, so is this data or just poor graphics (a highlight)?

  59. Travis

    23 gallons from a relatively small crater is actually pretty amazing. By extrapolation that may mean there are hundreds or thousands of tons of easily extractable water that won’t need to be sent, at enormous cost, from Earth to the future polar Moon bases.

    “With the exception of NASA, who gives a rip about water on the moon?”

    Wow. How dare anyone have any intellectual curiosity about anything, eh?

    “Sounds like they’ll end up with more tax dollars that will end up in a black hole.”

    A black hole created by NASA would actually be pretty amazing considering the paltry budget that NASA actually has to work with.

  60. It is a good news to hear that, we can live on moon in the future, maybe no long any more.

  61. gss_000

    @56 Tech

    This is the first direct evidence. Before the findings were hydrogen that pointed to the presence of water, but it was never “seen” directly like this.

  62. Mark Hansen

    Alan (62), why are you here? After all, this is a site devoted to astronomy and, judging by your comment, you don’t seem to have any interest in astronomy. If you’re lost, try Googling another subject that relates more to your interests. Monster trucks, wrestling… you know, something not too mentally taxing.

  63. Peter

    @60 StevoR

    “1. Helium three which could be a fuel of the future.”

    This one always struck me as a rather artificial argument, put forward by people apparently having an agenda of returning to the moon for the sake of returning to the moon.

    - He3 as a fusion fuel is mainly attraction is that the He3,D reaction is aneutronic. However, in a He3, D mixture you are inavitably getting D,D reactions as well. The latter reaction is not aneutronic.

    - He3,D has a way higher fusion cross section than D,T. That means that the conditions in a He3/D fusion reactor need to be even more extreme than for D/T burning reactors. We all know how difficult even the comparatively lax conditions for controlled D/T fusion are to achieve.

    - He3, even on the moon is scarce. Mining it, and getting it here will be expensive.

    - D is abundantly present on earth and easy to mine.

    That is. D beats He3 as a fusion fuel on all counts, and be an enormous margin, excepts for a somewhat lesser neutron output.

  64. Gary Ansorge

    71. Peter

    D-T fusion is pretty “dirty”, in terms of neutrons produced. The cleanest reaction I’m familiar with is the Boron 11/Proton reaction. It produces about a billion times fewer neutrons than the D-T reaction.

    CoolStar:

    NASA has plans for a 40 KW, compact nuc generator. Also, one of the cool things about the pole regions is that one can mount solar collectors on the crater rim and they’re in sunlight all the time. Again, as has been mentioned by teather enthusiasts, we could build a Lunar space elevator from available materials(Spectra) and that would provide cheap, energy efficient access to Luna.
    The availability of water in such quantities will provide O2 for breathing, water for bathing/drinking(The lunar astronauts have mentioned smelling rather bad after being cooped up for a couple of weeks) and H2 for reaction mass for rockets(my fav. rocket is powered by the Nuclear Light Bulb.)

    Luna is a great resource base for building space craft. I expect we’ll someday see large space craft construction facilities on Luna. Buy your stock today in Lunar Industries,,,

    Gary 7

  65. Peter

    @72 Gary.

    I adreesed that. Yes DT is “dirty.” But He3/D as well, not so much because of
    He3-D fusion but because of the unavoidable D-D side reaction.

  66. the H2O find in the luna is a sign of life, may be one day, we will meet in there some others kind of human being.Hope so

  67. cwolf

    You guys have been watching too many Sci-Fi movies.
    Crunch the numbers. Space travel & colonization is a pipe dream.
    There’s water on the moon. Big deal – there’s no air! No Green anything & no food. A frikkin hamburger will cost a million bucks.
    At best, and after destroying earth just to get there, some distant future explorer may find something out there – but alas, it will be the biggest “so what” of all time.

  68. cwolf (#75): Oh my gosh! Every space explorer, everyone at NASA, everyone on Earth totally forgot there was no air on the Moon!

    You may have saved us billions of dollars. Your commission check is in the mail.

    … and if you want to the non-snarky answer on why you are incorrect in your opinion, read this.

  69. GERTY

    They better build the Moonbase fast, 2012 is right around the corner!

  70. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Emily Lakdawalla at The Planetary Society Blog points out [well, twitter out, actually] that the value of the Moon water so far mined (~ 100 kg) comes to about 88 MUSD in transport cost. As LCROSS cost 80 MUSD, NASA has found a new profitable mining market! :-D

    But seriously, this is the first extraterrestrial probe that I know of where people have been able to estimate giving a positive ROI. (I assume others have too, but it’s generally iffy to calculate ROI on research and exploration.) Not bad.

    A side benefit is that this water is presented as an opportunity to compare Earth’s water, and so its climate, history with a less disturbed record.

    they just said that they think there’s a chance of organic compounds in this ice…

    That is what I hoped those claimed ‘other components’ are!

    But so, I suspect, did everybody. So please don’t take it personally if I ask: where is the reference?

    Can someone help me interpret the near-IR graph in the article Phil linked to?

    I saw that too. The likeliest explanation is that the press release caption is erroneous. That hypothesis would also predict the color palette (as in blue for water).

  71. Dob

    I guess the water finally broke. Doe this mean we’ll seen little moonlets soon?

  72. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    You don’t leave one gravity well to go 400,000 km and then land on ANOTHER one.

    Yes, you do, at least according to Buzz Aldrin, or at least his coworkers. According to their material on the Aquila system he pushes for, the Earth-Moon L1 and L2 Lagrange points are the key to open up the solar system. AFAIU they provide low energy trajectories to other planets.

    I’m not familiar with these newfangled low (actually, I believe, virtually zero) energy trajectories proposed for “interplanetary highways”, but obviously they will play a substantial role for cargo transfer. (If not human transfer due to the extra time involved.)

    As such, they will be immensely supported by anything found on the Moon, as well as other moons as an exploration or later exploitation wave moves outwards and use these L1s and L2s as well. NEOs and their other planet analogues have resources too, but in Aldrin et al scenario they are far less available to the planets than moon resources initially, and much more useful locally (i.e. as potentially colonizable bodies) and/or in the long run.

  73. amphiox

    I remain uncertain about the Moon as a longterm destination for manned exploration/colonization, because of the cost of going down another gravity well, and the hostility of the lunar environment.

    I have a suspicion that space based artificial habitats will in the long term be far more important than any planetary/lunar installation. It may be most efficient economically to exploit lunar resources robotically, with humans controlling things from earth or in earth-orbit, lunar-orbit, or earth-moon Lagrange point installations. Water and other resources could be mined and launched into lunar orbit to be picked up there.

  74. @ alfaniner
    I wonder what swimming in 1/6 G is like.

    It depends if it is an outdoor or indoor pool.

  75. Petrolonfire

    @ 75. cwolf Says:

    A frikkin hamburger will cost a million bucks.

    Hey, if your living in Zimbabwe it already does! ;-)

    (Probably a few other hyper-inflated, povo nations too.)

    Crunch the numbers. Space travel & colonization is a pipe dream.
    There’s water on the moon. Big deal – there’s no air!

    No air really? :roll:

    Matter of fact, the Moon does have a *very* thin atmosphere although it is the next best thing to vacuum – see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_the_Moon

    As for crunching the numbers, here’s more news for ya – people at NASA & many others who are far smarter than you are have already done this & reached the opposite conclusion from yours. :-P

  76. OMG! Ice on a south pole? It has to be alien intervention!

    -TUM

  77. Benjamin Brown

    Is anyone else sick of the misinformation that has been passed around? Just for the LCROSS mission for example.

    IE: We bombed the moon, people had to realize how inadequate that term was in describing the LCROSS mission, and yet the likes of National Geographic, Space.com, Discovery news used this phrase.

    Then there are the people who think LCROSS is somehow stealing India’s thunder. Or taking credit for India’s accomplishments even though it was three US instruments that made that discovery possible in the first place. I love what NASA does, but I think the mainstream media blows.

    Ahem, rant over, sorry about that guys. >.<

    On topic though, this is great news.

  78. StevoR

    @ 87. TheUnknownMissourian Says:

    OMG! Ice on a south pole? It has to be alien intervention!

    Well, yes, guess humans – & their robot craft – are alien to theMoon! ;-)

    @ 71. Peter Says:

    @60 StevoR :“1. Helium three which could be a fuel of the future.”

    This one always struck me as a rather artificial argument, put forward by people apparently having an agenda of returning to the moon for the sake of returning to the moon.

    - He3 as a fusion fuel is mainly attraction is that the He3,D reaction is aneutronic. However, in a He3, D mixture you are inavitably getting D,D reactions as well. The latter reaction is not aneutronic.

    - He3,D has a way higher fusion cross section than D,T. That means that the conditions in a He3/D fusion reactor need to be even more extreme than for D/T burning reactors. We all know how difficult even the comparatively lax conditions for controlled D/T fusion are to achieve.

    - He3, even on the moon is scarce. Mining it, and getting it here will be expensive.

    - D is abundantly present on earth and easy to mine.

    That is. D beats He3 as a fusion fuel on all counts, and be an enormous margin, excepts for a somewhat lesser neutron output.

    Thanks – but sorry, that’s a bit too technichal for me, I’m afraid. Lesser neutron output? How much less & why? Aneutronic – what’s that mean? I hate to say this but I’m not really following you there, you’re over my head.

    However, I get the gist that you think Deuterium (“heavy water “yeah?) can outperfom Helium 3 & is better & easier for us than He-3 mining on our Moon.

    You may be right. I can’t say because I don’t know enough when it comes to comparing the reactions. (something for me to research later I know.) All I know is that I have seen quite a few docos and people online and in print in various places strongly pushing the He-3 mining idea as something wonderful. Maybe they all got it wrong, maybe I was misinformed but .. :-(

    … Even if you’re right, it still leaves quite a few *other* good reasons to go there all the same! ;-)

    @ 88. Benjamin Brown :

    We bombed the moon, people had to realize how inadequate that term was in describing the LCROSS mission, and yet the likes of National Geographic, Space.com, Discovery news used this phrase.

    Well that’s sad. I’d have expected space.com & Nat’lGeo at least to have known *much* better. If they don’t get it right no wonder people watching the likes of Faux news get mixed up. Shame on them. :-(

    I love what NASA does, but I think the mainstream media blows.

    Absolutely, I second that.

    Generally speaking, the media can’t tell the difference betwen a bomb and a spacecraft or, worse yet, an astronomer & an astrologer. Its actually pretty sad and worrying how appallling ignorant the media is. :-(

    Still they did publish my letter replying to one particular galah’s anti-science rant :

    ***

    My letter pretty much as published in the ‘Sunday Mail’ (Adelaide, South Oz paper) on 09 Nov. 8th :

    In a letter texted to the ‘Sunday Mail’ (2009 Oct. 18th) A.E. Swain of Semaphore wrote & I quote :

    ”Are NASA insane? Bombing our moon that controls our weather, tidal changes and atmospheric pressure? It won’t be man that causes his own destruction it will be those silly scientists.”

    Well A.E. Swain, haven’t you ever heard of craters? Our Moon is naturally covered in them. Hundreds can be observed with a decent telescope and many are visible even through your garden variety binoculars. All these naturally occurring craters are considerably larger than that made by the LCROSS impact – which, by the way, was not a “bomb” but a spaceprobe. There was absolutely never any danger to Earth or of causing any real harm to the lifeless rock which is our Moon. Incidentally, A.E., I think you need to do a lot more research and thinking before you write your next letter because our Moon has nothing whatsoever to do with our planets atmospheric pressure or weather and where you got such silly notions is beyond me. Finally, A.E. Swain, I can assure you that scientists and “man” are not mutually exclusive but the same thing – scientists are men and women too! In fact they are intelligent, compassionate and curious women and men who merely seek to understand and learn from our wonderful cosmos in ways that very often benefit humanity – for instance being responsible for the computers and mobile phones we use to convey these messages!

    See more info also via : http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/90153-lcross-lunar-crater-orbiting-sensing-satellite-mission-4.html

  79. 9. Lugosi Says:

    Even more proof of water on the moon

    Beat me to it!

    J/P=?

  80. Crudely Wrott

    Waaaaay back up at 22 Stan9FOS wondered, “I wonder what skiing in 1/6 G is like! Now there’s a vacation sport!”

    Yes indeed it would be a thrill, considering not only the height of Lunar mountains but their looooong, gentle, unobstructed slopes. Miles and miles of slopes!

    Long ago I read something about just this subject. It may have been by Clarke but I cannot recall. Here’s the idea:

    A Lunar ski enthusiast arrives at the top of the run. He clamps a rigid “over-sole” to the bottom of each moon boot. These over-soles have an array of perforations facing down and are connected to a supply of compressed, inert gas. When a valve is operated the gas flows out of the perforations and lifts the skier a few millimeters off the surface. Now the skier is floating, frictionless, above the ground.

    Face down hill, push off gently and away you go. You don’t have to stop until you run out of slope or gas. In the same way that terrestrial skiing advanced significantly over time, lunar skiing would no doubt evolve into some extreme forms.

    *I’ve got dibs on the compressed gas concession!*

  81. louie

    i think it was obvious that there was water on the moon. Cause suposably i think i herd that the earth when it was created, got hit by a big comet/astroid or whatever. Made the moon by seperating a bunch of particles and over time it created the moon. So which the moon is part of the earth.

  82. Dan

    230 Celsius in craters at the lunar poles? I think not!

  83. Astroquoter

    Maybe in the permanently sunny part …?

  84. Oh yea! Now that we are done polluting the earth and we are almost dead by the bad decisions we keep making, let’s bombed the moon and see what happens! We might find water where there is no oxygen, nor gravity!!
    I wonder who will afford a bottle of what you’ve found?

    Just our nature, gentleman.

  85. Nes

    While I realize that I’m reading this a week late, I must say that I am simultaneously disappointed and ecstatic that I am not the first to make a joke about whalers on the moon.

    Someone was posting the song and forget the last line. I’m almost certain that it is: And sing a whaling tune.

    Someone else was asking why this was so important, considering that water has already been found. As I understand it, the importance with this finding is not that they found water so much as where they found water. This water can’t be evaporated away by the sun.

    Marina@#97:

    “No gravity” on the moon? Oi!

  86. i think that they did not because the only reason i didi this is because they said taht in a few years we will be living on the moon

  87. I understand that but where does it take us?

    The only really decent thing to do behind a person’s back is pat it. :)

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