Oct 25, 2010

NASA Satellite Discovers Water on Moon

Ice particles could be extracted and purified for drinking water for astronauts

NASA Scientists Announced last week announced the discovery of water in a crater on the moon, according to a report by the New York Times. The scientists said the water could be purified for drinking, or separated into hydrogen and oxygen and used for rocket fuel.

Data on the Cabeus crater was collected last year by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (Lcross), which purposefully crashed into the moon crater after transmitting the data it collected back to Earth. Scientists used the data to determine that the water is in the form of ice grains mixed in with soil, meaning that it would be easy to extract. The ice particles likely make up 5.6% to 8.5% of the soil mixture, said the scientists. In comparison, soils in the Sahara are made up of between 2% and 5% water, which is difficult to extract because it is bonded to minerals, according to the report. NASA estimated that when Lcross crashed, it kicked up approximately 40 gal of water.

Lcross was a part of NASA’s Constellation program, initiated by President George W. Bush, which aimed to send more astronauts into space. The goal to send humans to the moon is currently on hold, however, after President Barack Obama made a compromise with Congress due to concerns over costs and the fact the Americans have already been there.