Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ice on the Moon. Yay!

Red, fresh craters. Green, anomalous craters. All could be frozen swimming pools.

The Moon, it appears, is a very soggy place. Or at least icy.

Measurements from NASA’s Mini-SAR radar on India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter has detected what NASA estimates could be about 600 million metric tons of water ice in permanently-shaded craters near the Moon’s north pole, or so reports.

So not only is this good news for astronauts, who could build a Moon base near one of these craters and use the ice to create water, oxygen, and rocket fuel, but also good news for Santa Claus and his elf and reindeer friends if the ever need to relocate due to global warming or encroaching development.

I love how science keeps reaffirming the educated guesses my favorite science fiction writers made oh fifty or sixty years ago. And I love that NASA cooperated with India on this space probe, saving money while doing demonstrable science that could possibly benefit mankind if we ever get our heads out of our butts long enough to make a space elevator or a vehicle more dependable than the Space Shuttle.

So maybe there’s still a chance for a moon colony, one I could inhabit as a very old man where I could grumble at the kids to stay off my regolith.

This kind of news is also probably freaking out the Moonsters, who don't much like the acidic qualities of water. It's just like discovering toxic waste in shady spots on Earth.

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