After previously hoping to find ice water within the shadowy craters of Luna, it looks as if the Moon harbor less water than most terrestrial deserts.
(New Scientist Space) The Shackleton Crater on the south pole had been a prominent candidate for a future base station, since it contains a ledge on its rim that would have been an ideal landing spot. […]
A team led by Junichi Haruyama of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Kanagawa analysed images of the crater taken on these brighter days. The images were snapped by the spacecraft’s Terrain Camera, which can resolve objects as small as 10 metres across. […]
But according to Pieters, the most striking feature was what was missing. “If there had been nice, clean ice, we’d have seen brighter reflections from its surface – but none were visible,” she told New Scientist. Instead, the images just revealed dull lunar soil.
Despite this setback, the Moon is still a valuable asset to the Earth/Space economy, as its helium-3 could help power our world (for thousands of years to come), while extracting oxygen from lunar rock may provide explorers with enough air and fuel to conquer the asteroid belt.
While Plaskett crater may hold more hope for us in the future, we should seriously consider the idea of exporting water (en mass) to future lunar colonies, or even importing it from water rich dwarf worlds such as Ceres.