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Scientists confirm the existence of water ice on the Moon's surface for the first time

By Shawn Knight · 10 replies
Aug 21, 2018
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  1. Using data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument, a team of scientists from NASA’s Ames Research Center, the University of Hawaii and Brown University have definitively proven that water ice exists on the surface of the Moon.

    Previous observations found indirect evidence pointing to the possibility of surface ice on the Moon but could have been credited to other phenomenon such as unusually reflective lunar soil. The M3 instrument was able to collect data about the reflective properties of ice and measure how its molecules absorb infrared light, thus allowing scientists to differentiate between solid ice and liquid water or vapor.

    The newfound ice deposits are located at the Moon’s poles. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated in lunar craters where sunlight never reaches due to the small tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis. In these regions, temperatures never climb above -250 Fahrenheit. At the northern pole, the ice is more widely but sparsely distributed.

    NASA said that with enough ice sitting at the surface (within the top few millimeters), water could possibly be accessible as a resource for astronauts while exploring or during an extended stay on the Moon. In theory, it’d also be easier to access than the water previously detected beneath the surface.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2018
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,389   +3,779

    Another good reason to make a re-visit to the moon, a moon base, etc. a higher priority than Mars. ESPECIALLY if Trump is serious about a Space Corp .......
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +32

    I'm curious if radioactivity is a concern. Its one thing saying it's water, but is it actually usable?
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  4. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,547   +1,767

    I doubt it would be. While in space radiation is a big concern, most of it is radiation emitted from the sun. Without radioative particles, the water on the moon wouldnt be any more radioactive then water that sits in the sun all afternoon.
    CrazyDave likes this.
  5. koblongata

    koblongata TS Addict Posts: 203   +59

    Really looking forward to space mining, when space transportation is cheap enough.
  6. Interesting, unlike all of our local nature tourist spots, I don't think the astronauts urinated on the Moon. Urine is sterile water with a few additives after all.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,883   +1,530

    If that's is true, it would also be reasonable to conclude that water was included the mass ejected into the 240k orbit of our moon.
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,400   +627

    Or that water bearing comets or asteroids hit the moon as it is believed to have also hit the earth.
  9. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 583   +383

    What mechanism would you propose that could allow water to retain photons? Radiation is primarily photons - that's what is "radiating" from the sun, and radioactive elements such as Uranium or Plutonium, under most circumstances. Yes, neutrons and alpha (Helium) can radiate neutrons don't last long outside a nucleus and Helium loses velocity rapidly in any mediating field. At the moon's surface, we have incoming charge photons and also ions via the solar wind (which of course is caused by the sun's radiating photons as well), meeting the moon's charge field. The moon's charge field is strong enough to trump the sun's at about 5KM when it comes to electrons, much like the Earth's ionosphere and Van Allen belts do at 150KM.

    So no, there's no real danger of "irradiated water" since there's no radioactive elements there to keep it irradiated. The water takes in photons and refracts them out, either back up or sideways or straight down, but the photons don't just hit the water and stay there. They are moving at light speed.
  10. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,563   +550

    Considering comets are partly made of ice... it would be harder to find a planet without water.
  11. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Booster Posts: 56   +66

    There are three types of radiation: Alpha (2 protons and 2 neutrons, I.e. a Helium nucleus), Beta (electrons) and Gamma (photons). Water is a great solvant, so there could be lots of elements and minerals disolved in it. Among these, any radioactive elements, like potassium-40 (40K), tritium (3H), carbon-14 (14C), rubidium-87 (87Rb), radium-226 (226Ra), the daughters of radium-228 (228Ra), polonium-210 (210Po), uranium (U), thorium (Th), radon-220 (220Rn), and radon-222 (222Rn). There's no need for water to retain photons to be radioactive, just to hold disolved radioactive elements. I'm not saying the Moon's water is radioactive, just that it could perfectly be.

    As for the Moon's "charge field", if you are referring to a magnetosphere, it doesn't have any. It does pass through the Earth's every so often, but by itself the Moon does not have a magnetic field.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
    CrazyDave likes this.

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