Print 30 comment(s) - last by lco45.. on Sep 27 at 11:58 PM

  (Source: NASA)
There could be water on the moon after all

Using data collected by three different missions studying the surface of the moon, researchers have their strongest evidence yet of possible signs of water.

"When we say 'water on the moon,' we are not talking about lakes, oceans or even puddles," according to Brown University researcher Carle Pieters.  "Water on the moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl (hydrogen and oxygen) that interact with molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimeters of the moon's surface."

Specifically, the NASA Cassini and Deep Impact spacecraft, along with India's Chandrayaan-1, collected the most recent data.  During the Apollo missions -- which took place in the 1960s and 1970s – NASA retrieved several rocks that contained minute amounts of trapped water, but the small traces were believed to be contamination from Earth.

Researchers previously believed the moon was a completely dry place, even though the dark side of the moon is cold enough to support ice.  Once the dark side passes into the sunlight, however, the ice would end up evaporating quickly.  It was previously believed there could be liquid water found at the moon's poles, but there could be much wetter areas at several select locations away from the poles.

Researchers from the University of Maryland, Brown University, U.S. Geological Survey, and international scientists are looking into other places that could be wet.  Water is important as space nations show continued interest in lunar bases -- though transporting water and supplies are major issues -- but the ability to filter water and grow crops would make it even more feasible to survive on the moon.

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there is NO dark side of the moon
By kattanna on 9/24/2009 10:58:11 AM , Rating: 1
dark side of the moon is cold enough to support ice. Once the dark side passes into the sunlight, however, the ice would end up evaporating quickly.

there is NO dark side of the moon, there is a FAR side yes that we here on earth never see directly. the moon has a day/night cycle that lasts 28 earth days, with all "sides" of the moon getting equal day/night treatment.

also.. how does a "dark side" pass into sunlight?

RE: there is NO dark side of the moon
By menace on 9/24/2009 12:05:12 PM , Rating: 3
Just read the quote, it is more or less correct within it's own context.

There IS a dark side at any given moment. If you pour a cup of water on the ground it turns to ice. Once the moon rotates the side back to the sun the ice will quickly evaporate and diffuse to space.

However, "Once the dark side passes into the sunlight" was a rather poor phrasing.

By lightfoot on 9/24/2009 4:55:36 PM , Rating: 3
Actually the water vapor still has mass and should remain fairly close to the moon's surface. It will not "diffuse into space" and be lost. It will simply settle into crevases where it will again freeze the next night.

RE: there is NO dark side of the moon
By Davelo on 9/24/2009 12:12:43 PM , Rating: 5
there is NO dark side of the moon

Sure there is. It's an album by Pink Floyd.

By foolsgambit11 on 9/24/2009 12:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
And the last line on the album is, "There is no dark side of the moon really. As a matter of fact, it's all dark."

By kattanna on 9/24/2009 1:05:41 PM , Rating: 1
Sure there is. It's an album by Pink Floyd.

LOL aye.. and i have wondered on more then one occasion if that isnt partly responsible for people thinking such.

Headline Lies?
By biggsjm on 9/24/2009 10:59:01 AM , Rating: 5
The headline states:

Traces of Water Found on Moon

But yet in the first paragraph, the article states: "researchers have their strongest evidence yet of possible signs of water. "

You can't have it both ways. Either you found traces of water or you found possible signs of water.

RE: Headline Lies?
By lco45 on 9/24/2009 8:42:12 PM , Rating: 5
I went straight to this article to find out where and how they found water, only to find that they hadn't.


RE: Headline Lies?
By johnsonx on 9/24/2009 9:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Rather Mick-esque isn't it?

RE: Headline Lies?
By lco45 on 9/27/2009 11:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
I normally like his articles, but there is certainly an element of sensationalism about some of them.


Neil Armstrong...
By TennesseeTony on 9/24/2009 10:34:06 AM , Rating: 5
Neil Armstrong would like to apologize for the, uhm, Earth based water puddle.

RE: Neil Armstrong...
By Souka on 9/24/2009 11:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I thought when I read the title to the article.

I'll just add my question/comment: "I didn't know spacesuits had a zipper-fly on the pants! :) "

RE: Neil Armstrong...
By lco45 on 9/24/2009 8:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
Forget Viagra, if you want some serious 'growth' down there you need do nothing more than unzip your fly in a vacuum...


RE: Neil Armstrong...
By Davelo on 9/24/2009 12:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
Neil Armstrong would like to apologize for the, uhm, Earth based water puddle.

Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow.

By TSS on 9/24/2009 9:20:35 AM , Rating: 2
Now, i'm no expert on this by all means. But i did see a documentairy about helium-3, which is found alot on the moon while it's rare on earth because the sun emits it, and our atmosphere protects us from it.

Now my question would be: is it possible the sun just emitted the neccesary molecules which then binded on the moon (reacting with rock in the top millimeters of soil)? instead of the traditional...well... i have no clue how our oceans where formed, but anyway.

Too bad the article doesn't toutch on a possible source for these traces, if it's not contamination from earth i mean.

RE: hmmmm...
By TMV192 on 9/24/2009 10:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
The article doesn't explain it too well. Basically far-side of the moon (sometimes mistakenly called the dark-side, like in this article) has massive amounts of impact craters, which were discovered to be from comets as well as asteroids. Any comets with ice however would have dried up dried up during the day, but there are some impact craters on the south pole that would not. Basically these craters, called the Shackleton craters, are just south facing enough to have a shadow during the day leaving the possibility of ice deposits not drying up

RE: hmmmm...
By Fox5 on 9/24/2009 11:43:56 AM , Rating: 2
Solar implantation is a possibility. The sun emits hydrogen nuclei and those could become embedded in the moon, though I believe the more probable theory is considered to be impacts from asteroids.

RE: hmmmm...
By JKflipflop98 on 9/24/2009 1:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
More than likely it's leftover material from the giant impact that formed the moon. Back when the Earth was a young lad make of nothing but molten rock, another planetoid in the still-forming solar system impacted the Earth with great force.

The impact instantly destroyed the wayward planetoid. It was engulfed into the Earth itself, joining into the sea of lava.

The force of the collision was so great that it caused this giant glob of hot goo to fling liquid out into the heavens - which then cooled, causing a ring of debris. Debris that was bourne of the same matter as the Earth itself.

Over time, this ejecta was gravitationally collected into a large ball. The moon was born.

So, being as the moon is made of the same stuff as the Earth, it's not too hard to imagine that there's probably a little bit of water there. Somewhere.

Not liquid water
By nafhan on 9/24/2009 9:56:10 AM , Rating: 3
It was previously believed there could be liquid water found at the moon's poles
Solid water, yes, but I don't think anyone expected to find liquid water anywhere on the moon due to the lack of atmosphere.

By XBMCFan on 9/24/2009 1:33:25 PM , Rating: 3
Researchers from the University of Maryland, Brown University, U.S. Geological Survey, and international scientists are looking into other places that could be wet.

Nevermind, that's just too easy...

By MrPoletski on 9/25/2009 9:02:35 AM , Rating: 3
The next step up from this is:
BEER found on the moon. Astronauts seen lining up outside the new shuttle.

By omnicronx on 9/24/2009 9:44:18 AM , Rating: 2
Im curious as to why you didnt mention anything about how it was found? You sourced the article but you left out the most important information?
Jessica Sunshine of the University of Maryland and colleagues used infrared mapping from the Deep Impact spacecraft to show water all over the moon, while Roger Clark of the U.S. Geological Survey and colleagues used a spectrometer -- which breaks down light waves to analyze elements and chemicals reflecting them -- from the Cassini spacecraft to identify water.

By Gwejian on 9/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: confused
By nafhan on 9/24/2009 9:58:15 AM , Rating: 2
"Imagine, stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you'll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you'll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles."

RE: confused
By docawolff on 9/24/2009 10:45:18 AM , Rating: 1
Water is needed for basic life support of a colony. No recycling system is 100% efficient, and Man's first attempts are certainly not going to even approach that. So we need water to live on the moon.

More importantly, we need a source of hydrogen for fuel. Barring some more distant technologies like space elevators and their variations, hydrogen is essential for spacecraft fuel. It is used as-is (LOX, LH2 liquid fuel engines), or converted to volatile liquid fuel components like silane or hydrazine, or it is needed to produce the hydrocarbon resin that metal-oxidizer solid fuel engines are made with.

With a convenient (??!!) fuel depot in lunar orbit, interplanetary flight and trans-earth industry become much more feasible.

So that's why we want to find water on the moon.

RE: confused
By delphinus100 on 9/24/2009 11:53:06 AM , Rating: 2
I suspect the concentrations will be far too low to use for anything but life-support and some industrial processes (and with careful recycling, at that) than for rocket fuel or reaction mass.

Oxygen, however, could be extracted from the regolith in effectively unlimited quantities (for life-support or rocketry) given enough energy, but we always knew that...

RE: confused
By maven81 on 9/24/2009 12:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I forget where I saw a more detailed article on this, but it quoted something like 32oz of water per ton of topsoil. That's not exactly much to speak of and would need a massive operation to process that much soil into water.

RE: confused
By docawolff on 9/24/2009 3:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
All true. However, it has long been hypothesized that deep craters in perpetual shadow (such as the craters at the poles) would allow ice to survive and possibly even accumulate. At this point we know that there is water on the moon. The distribution and abundance of that water is still very much an open question.

RE: confused
By JKflipflop98 on 9/24/2009 11:34:12 PM , Rating: 1
More importantly, why would anyone want to live on the moon without the internets?

Well, I suppose you could possibly still setup a data link to the moon, but your lag times in L4D would be horrendous.

RE: confused
By Senju on 9/25/2009 12:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
Not if you are playing L4D in Stand alone mode! :D

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