NASA plans to mine water on the Moon shift into high gear

Friday, October 02, 2009

The coverage of the reaction to the discovery of water on the Moon continues, with an article here on stepped-up plans by NASA to perfect the technology to mine water from the top parts of the soil there. Some interesting parts:

-Being able to extract water on the surface in this way pays for itself quite quickly, so the extra effort in developing and shipping the tools necessary to do it is very worth it;
-One point that remains unknown is just how deep we would have to excavate, since the discovery announced only pertains to the top few millimetres of soil. This is simply a scientist taking the most cautious route though; IMO it's safe to assume that areas below the first few mm will also have water given that it seems that the water molecules are able to migrate, and if they are able to migrate from the equator towards the higher latitudes then they certainly should be able to migrate down into the soil as well.
-Even before the discovery of water on the Moon NASA was working on a technology (a hydrogen reduction reactor) to add hydrogen to the lunar soil, which would then turn it into water.

Now we only have seven more days to wait until LCROSS crashes into the Moon. Keep up this discussion on water on the Moon for a few more days and then articles will begin to appear on the upcoming impact, then the impact itself and hopefully a great deal more discussion afterwards as the results begin pouring in. One of the best parts about LCROSS is that the plume created by the impact is going to be observed around the world, so a great many local papers should also report on the findings sent in by observatories close to them.

As for the attention this has been receiving, Google Trends shows us just what a big change this has enacted. Here's the amount of search traffic for moon water since 2004:

and over the past 30 days (the smaller range is more accurate and shows a leveling off):

and also compared to a search term like Bulgaria, which it eclipsed for a time at its height.


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