Friday, October 22, 2010
Lots of discussion again today about water on the Moon after details LCROSS (the probe that smashed itself in two parts into the Cabeus crater in the Moon's south pole in order to kick up a plume for both itself and LRO to analyze) were given in a press conference. This page here has the most information on that, but articles here, here and here stress the most important aspect of this: in Cabeus at the south pole and certainly other craters as well:
- The soil is twice as wet as the Sahara Desert (that's actually quite wet - keep in mind that the Sahara supports its own ecosystem with animals such as these) at 5.6% of the total mass. This means:
- One ton of dirt = 50 litres of water. One small downside:
- There is some mercury in the water as well. This isn't a huge deal as water on the Moon is most valuable in the making of rocket fuel, but explorers will still have to be careful to properly process the water before drinking it.
A few days ago there was some other positive news related to the Moon: NASA has signed contracts worth up to $30 million with six Google Lunar X Prize companies for their expertise and data, and since they are based on performance this is an added incentive on top of the prize itself to succeed. Another article on those contracts is here. This is the next best thing after unfounded rumors last year (though hopefully they will turn out to be true later on) that the prize was going to be doubled.