Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Saddle Up Everybody, There's Water On The Moon!

Today's exciting space news is that scientists from Brown University have discovered evidence of water on the moon. Here's the headline at "Brown-Led Team Finds Evidence Of Water In Lunar Interior." And here's another headline at the Scientific American website: "New scans show evidence of water on the moon."

Wow! This is exciting news! It's time to start the lunar colonization programs! Let's see what the story at says:
"A Brown University-led research team has for the first time discovered evidence of water that came from deep within the Moon, a revelation that strongly suggests water has been a part of the Moon since its early existence -- and perhaps ever since it was created by a cataclysmic collision between the early Earth and a Mars-sized object about 4.5 billion years ago.

"In a paper published in the July 10 issue of the journal Nature, the team, led by Alberto Saal, assistant professor of geological sciences at Brown, believes that the water was contained in magmas erupted from fire fountains onto the surface of the Moon more than 3 billion years ago." (Here.)
Oops. Never mind. Three billion years ago.

No doubt this will thrill planetary scientists throughout the solar system. But really thrilling news would be that water remains inside the Moon today. If that were the case, perhaps residents of future lunar bases or colonies could drill deep into the Moon and mine the water.

There is speculation about the current presence or absence of water on the Moon in the story.
"About 95 percent of the water vapor from the magma was lost to space during this eruptive "degassing," the team estimates. But traces of water vapor may have drifted toward the cold poles of the Moon, where they may remain as ice in permanently shadowed craters."
We've heard this speculation before and maybe the fact that the Moon held water 3 billion years ago increases the likelihood that there is water ice there now. Let's hope so. Water's pretty darn heavy and a ready supply on the Moon could be very useful.


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That's really cool to hear! Although I wish we could find "more water" on the Moon, as that would make settling there a lot easier (and cheaper) in the long run.

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