The Moon Is A Not-So-Harsh Mistress

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | November 13, 2009 3:23 pm

story.moon.nasa.govWater on the moon… Just wow!

According to NASA, this discovery may ‘hold the key to the history and evolution of the solar system‘ if the water is billions of years old. Potential sources include molecular clouds, solar winds, comets, or even somehow activity within the moon itself. There’s already discussion about the potential for development of a lunar space station. Phil’s got the details.


Comments (12)

  1. Sorbet

    “Significant” water on the moon has been known for a long time. For instance see Philip Ball’s wonderful book “Life’s Matrix: The Biography of Water”.

  2. Davo

    Didn’t the Indian satellite Chandrayaan already discover water on the moon a couple of months back? Why is this novel?

  3. Alareth


    We’ve had evidence of water on the Moon for some time now. It’s the quantity that has been at issue.

    We now know that it’s there in greater quantities than suspected and opens up possibilities we didn’t have before.

  4. MadScientist

    “could allow for the development of a lunar station” I just have to laugh at that one. Sure it can be imagined and there is no fundamental physical limitation preventing it, but look at the mess known as the International Space Station. If we struggle so much to build a habitable station which is at most about 500km from earth, when can we expect to get our act together to build a habitable station almost 800 times as far? How will we supply such a station when we struggle even to supply the ISS?

  5. Sorbet

    I am glad you changed the original title! Enough said.

  6. @6 Sorbet,
    I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t realized how the title came across–it was supposed to be a play on Heinlein’s novel The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. My apologies, I changed it as soon as I could.

  7. gss_000


    The evidence that’s been found before has been indirect. It’s been Hydrogen atoms that pointed strongly towards water, but it was never the water that was directly seen on this impact.

  8. Oreste

    STRANGE ANOMALY DISCOVERED ON MOON IN NASA PHOTO… Buzz Aldrin comments on the “Monolith” on Mars Moon Phobos… APOLLO 11 UFO… VIDEO: “I Saw Structures on the Moon”:

  9. Jean

    Sheril, That’s funny. It proves you don’t have a dirty mind.

  10. Matt

    I understood the title reference. Manny did, after all, loose a limb in an ice mining accident. Nice to know that the novel’s science speculation has been validated by the results of the experiment.


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry.Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.comFor more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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