Going back to the Moon looks easier than thought

October 23, 2010

Ouch!

 

Not only did the LCROSS mission recently find water on the Moon, but the amounts turn out to be significant and includes useful volatile chemicals:

The missions found evidence that lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials. Moreover, the moon appears to be chemically active and has a full-fledged water cycle. Scientists also confirmed that ‘moon water’ was in the form of mostly pure ice crystals in some places.

These results are featured in six papers published in the Oct. 22 issue of Science.

The twin impacts of LCROSS and a companion rocket stage in the moon’s Cabeus crater on Oct. 9, 2009, lifted a plume of material that might not have seen direct sunlight for billions of years. As the plume traveled nearly 10 miles above the crater’s rim, instruments aboard LCROSS and LRO made observations of the crater and debris and vapor clouds. After the impacts, grains of mostly pure water ice were lofted into the sunlight in the vacuum of space.

“Seeing mostly pure water ice grains in the plume means water ice was somehow delivered to the moon in the past, or chemical processes have been causing ice to accumulate in large quantities,” said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

In addition to water, the plume contained “volatiles.” These are compounds that freeze in the cold lunar craters and vaporize easily when warmed by the sun. The suite of LCROSS and LRO instruments determined as much as 20 percent of the material kicked up by the LCROSS impact was volatiles, including methane, ammonia, hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Read the rest at WUWT. It’s very exciting; not only is the problem of water for lunar explorers probably solved, but the volatiles indicate that usable fuels could be extracted from the soil, rather than being shipped from Earth, a very expensive proposition. These twin discoveries make a return to Luna and the establishment of a base there potentially much less daunting than previously thought.

Gosh, it would be so nice to have a real space program again.

Maybe a private company will make it so.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: What we believe – on wealth creation

October 23, 2010

Bill Whittle continues his series on what American conservatives believe by taking a look at the creation of wealth and the fundamentally different ways Right and Left think about it:

I have a good friend who’s a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, and I’m convinced his deepest feelings about wealth fit Whittle’s description to a “T.” That, somehow, the accumulation of wealth beyond a certain point must be morally compromised: either it was unearned or in some way stolen from others. It couldn’t be earned legitimately; there must be some taint of immorality about it.

That’s a fundamental difference between him and me, and I’d swear that same opinion about the essential immorality of wealth accumulation lies at the foundation of Leftist politics.

As our President said, “At some point, you’ve earned enough money:”

It reminds me of an old joke about the difference between a conservative and a liberal:

A conservative down on his luck finds himself wandering through a wealthy neighborhood and sees a beautiful house on a hill. He looks up and thinks to himself, “Someday, I’m going to be that guy.”

Later that day, a liberal down on his luck finds himself wandering through the same wealthy neighborhood and sees the same beautiful house on a hill. He looks up and thinks to himself, “Someday, I’m going to get that guy.”

It’s so true.

LINKS: More at Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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