Saturday, September 19, 2009
This is good news for those that believe we need to finish exploring our part of the Solar System before attempting to move out to other locations like Mars for manned missions - more evidence has been found of water ice on the Moon by LRO. There really isn't a good destination on the Moon for human colonization besides the south pole (perhaps somewhere like Shackleton crater), since the lack of a 14-day night there is an advantage that just can't be beat. It's interesting though that near the same area one can also find one of the coldest parts of the Solar System, right next to the areas with sunlight 24/7.
The first link has 90 comments so far so be sure to read those as well. As always, it's divided up between those that see this as good news for making the case for going to the Moon, and some that see it as bad news as a distraction from Mars. The fact is though that we still haven't even solved the radiation problem on the way to Mars so a manned mission there just isn't happening yet, not until we've developed a next-generation propulsion like VASIMR. In the meantime, a manned mission to one or two near-Earth asteroids followed by a "return" (because we haven't really done much there yet, and certainly not near the south pole) to the Moon is ideal.