NASA Gives Us 600 Million Reasons To Revisit The Moon

Posted by on Aug 4, 2010 in Ice Water, Moon, NASA | 2 comments

Mini-SAR map of the Circular Polarization Ratio (CPR) of the north pole of the Moon. Fresh, “normal” craters (red circles) show high values of CPR inside and outside their rims. This is consistent with the distribution of rocks and ejected blocks around fresh impact features, indicating that the high CPR here is surface scattering. The “anomalous” craters (green circles) have high CPR within, but not outside their rims.

After discovering water on the Moon (thanks in part to India’s satellite), it looks like scientists have discovered large quantities of ice water in the lunar north pole.

Using data from a NASA radar that flew aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists have detected ice deposits near the moon’s north pole. NASA’s Mini-SAR instrument, a lightweight, synthetic aperture radar, found more than 40 small craters with water ice. The craters range in size from 1 to 9 miles (2 to15 km) in diameter. Although the total amount of ice depends on its thickness in each crater, it’s estimated there could be at least 1.3 trillion pounds (600 million metric tons) of water ice. […]

Numerous craters near the poles of the Moon have interiors that are in permanent sun shadow.  These areas are very cold and water ice is stable there essentially indefinitely.  Fresh craters show high degrees of surface roughness (high CPR) both inside and outside the crater rim, caused by sharp rocks and block fields that are distributed over the entire crater area.  However, Mini-SAR has found craters near the north pole that have high CPR inside, but not outside their rims.  This relation suggests that the high CPR is not caused by roughness, but by some material that is restricted within the interiors of these craters.  We interpret this relation as consistent with water ice present in these craters.  The ice must be relatively pure and at least a couple of meters thick to give this signature. (NASA)

Although it was known for quite some time that the Moon did possess large quantities of water near the north pole, it was unclear as to how much until now.

The large amount of water ice should make it relatively easy for astronauts to establish outposts upon the lunar surface without heavily depending on Earth for water and supplies.

Future settlers can also use the water to make rocket fuel, which will help humanity in their quest to conquer our star system.

Despite the fact that Congress still debating over how we will get to the Moon (or rather whether partnering with the private sector is a good idea), it’s only a matter of time before humanity revisits and settles upon Earth’s nearest neighbor.

(via Universe Today)

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3 Different Flavors Of Lunar Water?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2010 in Blog, Ice Water, Moon | 1 comment

(Image Credit: Unknown)

Ever since we discovered water on the Moon, scientists have been trying to figure out how much water is upon the lunar surface, and whether or not there would be enough to sustain not only colonists but perhaps a few rockets as well.

Now it looks like there may be “3 different flavors” of lunar water, which could help decide where future moon bases are established.

(Physorg.com)  “If you converted those craters’ water into rocket fuel, you’d have enough fuel to launch the equivalent of one space shuttle per day for more than 2000 years. But our observations are just a part of an even more tantalizing story about what’s going on up on the Moon.” […]

“So far we’ve found three types of moonwater,” says Spudis. “We have Mini-SAR’s thick lenses of nearly pure crater ice, LCROSS’s fluffy mix of ice crystals and dirt, and M-cube’s thin layer that comes and goes all across the surface of the Moon.”

Although this still means that most of Luna is still drier than a terrestrial desert, the fact that many craters contain vast amounts of water ice means that future lunar outposts will become a reality in the near future.

While these “oasis craters” may spark debate about lunar property rights and perhaps some tension amongst the first lunar powers, their presence may signal that humanities first home beyond the sky will be upon our celestial next door neighbor.

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Video: Chinese View On Landing People On The Moon

Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Blog, China, Moon, Video | 2 comments

Now that China is an official space power, some may wonder how the citizens of this great nation view their countries attempt to land a man (or a woman) on the moon.

Here is a brief video highlighting not only China’s accomplishments, but also views from its citizens (both young and old).

Only time will tell whether China lands a man (or woman) upon the Moon, but hopefully they will not repeat America’s mistake and consider inhabiting upon Earth’s little sister instead of merely visiting her.

(via Spaceports)

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Luna, Luna, Dripping Wet? (Moon Water)

Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Blog, Ice Water, Moon, NASA | 1 comment


(Image Credit: Image: ISRO / NASA / JHUAPL / LP)

Orbiting approximately 1 light second away from Earth, the Moon (also known as Luna) surprised scientists after water ice was discovered upon its surface.

Recently NASA discovered more ice water upon the Moon, painting a picture that Earth’s nearest neighbor is not as dry as we once thought.

(NASA) Using data from a NASA radar that flew aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists have detected ice deposits near the moon’s north pole. NASA’s Mini-SAR instrument, a lightweight, synthetic aperture radar, found more than 40 small craters with water ice. The craters range in size from 1 to 9 miles (2 to15 km) in diameter. Although the total amount of ice depends on its thickness in each crater, it’s estimated there could be at least 1.3 trillion pounds (600 million metric tons) of water ice.

“The emerging picture from the multiple measurements and resulting data of the instruments on lunar missions indicates that water creation, migration, deposition and retention are occurring on the moon,” said Paul Spudis, principal investigator of the Mini-SAR experiment at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. “The new discoveries show the moon is an even more interesting and attractive scientific, exploration and operational destination than people had previously thought.” […]

“After analyzing the data, our science team determined a strong indication of water ice, a finding which will give future missions a new target to further explore and exploit,” said Jason Crusan, program executive for the Mini-RF Program for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington.


(Image Credit: USGS / JPL / NASA)

Previously it was assumed that the Moon was extremly dry, and that any water discovered would be heavily mixed with dust, rocks and other chemicals.

Now it seems as if there might be an “abundance” of water upon Luna, which could translate into future colonies upon this barren world.

(NY Times Dr. Spudis, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, said he guessed the water ice in the north polar craters might be 90 percent pure. He said the team was currently analyzing data covering the south pole craters. […]

In addition to the water near the poles, scientists also reported that a very thin layer of water covers much of the lunar surface. Water, it appears, not only exists, but is also moving around. “The moon is working in a way you didn’t expect,” Dr. Spudis said.

If scientists can locate more craters with large volumes of water ice, humanity may witness the first off world settlements being established within the next 20 years!

Whether those colonies are American (via the private sector) or Chinese has yet to be determined, but either way the Moon is establishing itself as the next stop for humanity (a thought that might not please a few Martian fans).

–Posted on my iPhone

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China Launching Lunar Sattelite 2.0?

Posted by on Mar 8, 2010 in Blog, China, Moon | 0 comments


After launching a sattelite around Luna many moons ago (pun intended), it looks like the Chinese are about to send a second satellite in order to take a closer look at Earth nearest neighbor.

(Space.com) China is preparing its second moon orbiter for launch in October of this year. The Chang’e 2 probe will carry a high-resolution camera capable of spotting lunar surface features as small as 3 feet.

Chang’e 2 will map potential landing sites for follow-on robotic missions that will attempt to reach the moon’s surface, another first for the Chinese space program. China has not set a date for Chang’e 3’s lunar landing mission.

The second satellite will probable help China compete against Japan’s SELENE (which has been mapping Earth’s moon in high definition).

Hopefully in the not-so-distant future China will consider landing a few good men (and woman) upon the lunar surface, although for now we will settle for a government rover.

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NASA: Can The iPhone Keep The Vision Alive? Yes It Can!

Posted by on Feb 22, 2010 in Blog, Moon, NASA | 0 comments

This is probably the best move NASA has made since launching a web page to prove why the agency was still relevant.

While that last manuver obviously failed (as Obama is outsourcing the Moon to the private sector), their latest iPhone app may help show the public how fun (not to mention difficult) it is to roam upon the Moon without a nearby gas station.

NASA may want to consider creating more of these apps upon other worlds such as Mars, Titan or even Pluto (in order to help keep “the vision” alive), although hopefully they will consider porting this app over to Android (as I know plenty of space geeks who would enjoy a road trip on the Moon).

(Hat Tip: Mashable)

— Posted from my iPhone

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