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October 5, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Spacecraft find water on the moon

Cheese debate still rages

Late last month data from three different spacecraft confirmed scientists’ long-held suspicions that there is water on the moon.

India’s moon-probe Chandrayaan-1, and NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Impact probe all reported spectral signals indicative of water or hydroxyl (OH).

US moon researcher Larry Taylor is quoted on the BBC News website as estimating the amount to be a litre per cubic metre of lunar dirt; however, Carle Pieters of Brown University in Providence told the New Scientist magazine that the amount is probably just a “nice glass of water” per baseball-field of dirt (obviously more scientific measures).

Scientist and astronauts all over the world are totally excited, because the water could be utilised in a human flight to Mars.

In addition to being used in the usual way by the astronauts, the water could be split into oxygen and hydrogen to be used as fuel.

This is significant because the moon’s gravitational pull is much lower than that of the Earth. This means that it takes much less energy for a spacecraft to lift off from the moon than it does from Earth, making water and fuel obtained from the moon relatively ‘cheaper’ than water and fuel from the Earth.

Students asked by Salient for their comments on the moon-water stamped their feet and screamed “can’t you see I’ve got an essay due in two hours?! I don’t have time to answer your inane questions!”


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  1. Graeme says:

    “In addition to being used in the usual way by the astronauts, the water could be split into oxygen and hydrogen to be used as fuel.”

    Wouldn’t that need a lot of fuel in the first place?

  2. Jackson Wood says:

    Not too much fuel. If you have a few solar panels and an electrolysis machine it’s is more than worth it if the water is pure enough or could be easily purified .

  3. Graeme says:

    To get water, sure… but to get fuel? Just hook the solar panels up to what you want to run and use solar power instead of hydrogen…

    I know there’s a law of thermodynamics about this somewhere!

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