Bad News: Radar Fails to Find Water On the Moon

Status
Not open for further replies.
M

mikeemmert

Guest
From Space.com:<br /><br />"<font color="yellow">New high-resolution radar images of the Moon have diminished hopes that the lunar poles might harbor water that could sustain future lunar and solar system explorations.<br /><br />The images, discussed in the Oct. 19 issue of the journal Nature, showed no evidence that ice exists in craters at the lunar south pole.<br /><br />Even in the lunar summer at the south pole, the Sun barely edges above the horizon, so the bottoms of impact craters are in permanent shadow.<br /><br />Since the 1960s, theorists have suggested that these "cold traps" might contain deposits of water ice. The theory was bolstered in 1992 when Earth-based radar telescopes located "ice deposits" inside impact craters at the poles of the planet Mercury.<br /><br />Because of the tilt of the Moon's orbital plane relative to the Earth's equatorial plane, the Earth can rise much higher above the horizon at the lunar south pole than the Sun, so telescopes on the Earth can use radar to "see" some of the shadowed areas of the Moon.<br /><br />Earth-based radar measurements of the Moon since the 1990s have consistently failed to detect ice deposits similar to those on Mercury. <br /><br />Since water ice could be converted to oxygen, drinkable water or even rocket fuel, it would be a valuable resource for any future lunar base. Because of this high value, NASA's 2008 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will crash two vehicles onto the Moon to search for water ice at the South Pole.<br /><br />In 1999, the Lunar Prospector orbiter discovered concentrations of hydrogen at the lunar poles. If this hydrogen were in the form of water molecules—still a subject of debate—then it would correspond to an average of 1 to 2 percent of water ice in the lunar soil in the shadowed terrain.<br /><br />"These new results do not preclude ice being present as small grains in the lunar soil based on the Lunar Pros</font>
 
L

Leovinus

Guest
I don't consider this bad news. What would be bad news would be spending trillions of dollars to mount a mission to the South Pole assuming that water was there and then finding out we were wrong.<br /><br />It is good news to learn the true nature of the place. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
M

mikeemmert

Guest
Well, it does mean that an expected resource isn't there. Kind of like oil wildcatters drilling a dry hole.<br /><br />Manned flights are pretty expensive. I think it might be a good idea to figure out some cheaper way to either confirm or refute the Lunar Prospector data. That was based on neutron scattering and thus would reveal underground deposits. It might very well be that ice on the surface is eroded by ultraviolet light from stars. Thus there's nothing <i>on the surface</i> but there might still be water just beneath the surface. The Lunar Prospector data indicates that that might be so.<br /><br />The various collision experiments were actually not very well done, it was just an ad-hoc use of existing equipment. Impact of those spacecraft were at very shallow angles and it makes sense that they would hit some low-lying hill or crater rim, which would be sticking up into the sunlight and therefore be warmed enough to evaporate any ice. Also, accuracy, including time of collision, is not very good for shallow impact angles. I think it might be a good idea to repeat the impact experiments with a specially designed impactor, like Deep Impact, including the trajectory.
 
C

centsworth_II

Guest
No water on the moon may be considered good news by those opposed to building a permanent base on the moon before sending a manned mission to Mars. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
L

Leovinus

Guest
I think a moon base is a smart step to take before going to Mars. Get used to leaving and returning to Earth. Perfect the hardware while you still have a way to get help or bail out. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
B

bonzelite

Guest
the only real way to know anything definitive is not remote sensing devices and extrapolations but to actually go there and look. this is the only way we will know what the moon is all about. this includes deep drilling and manned reconaissance. very extensive, expensive and centuries away from full feasibility. <br /><br />in our lifetimes, we're lucky to see a sequel to the Apollo landings where the guys played golf and drove around a bit to take vacation pictures. that's about it. hardcore habitation or Lewis & Clarke type of extended manned discoveries to the moon are nowhere on the menu. <br /><br />for all we know, there could be fossils or subsurface water on the moon. and no remote sensing can ever find those. at the very least, an armada of android type of geologist rovers must be sent far and wide across the face of the moon. until then, it might as well be the deep abyss of the oceans.
 
V

vandivx

Guest
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>in our lifetimes, we're lucky to see a sequel to the Apollo landings where the guys played golf and drove around a bit to take vacation pictures. that's about it. hardcore habitation or Lewis & Clarke type of extended manned discoveries to the moon are nowhere on the menu.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />fully agree with that and that's why I would say lets forget those tourist flag waving endeavours, if we get people landed on Mars it will be worse than on Moon, they will be extremely limited in every way and won't be able to do much at all, at the back of their minds will be that fear if they are going to be able to take off again to return LOL and won't be in mood for some serious exploration even if they could and what they will do in that short time can be done aplenty in due time by the robotic landers like next generation Oportunities and Spirits<br /><br />that is sure thing that some stuff can only or best be done by people in situ but I doubt seriously they would get time enough to prove their worth, some settlement like proposed above are pipe dreams and nowt else, that's like people fantasised in 1950s and 60s what we would do by year 2000 and even 1980s LOL and which never materialized and couldn't have, they let their fantasy run away with them, lunar colonization is not on menu for this generation and likely not even for the next few perhaps, if something like that goes through it will end up even bigger boondogle than any ISS has ever been, mark my words<br /><br />besides we know that the Moon is as dry and dead as doornail and always was and why would anyone want to waste their time in that waste...<br /><br />vanDivX <br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
B

bonzelite

Guest
<font color="yellow"><br />fully agree with that and that's why I would say lets forget those tourist flag waving endeavours, if we get people landed on Mars it will be worse than on Moon, they will be extremely limited in every way and won't be able to do much at all, at the back of their minds will be that fear if they are going to be able to take off again to return LOL and won't be in mood for some serious exploration even if they could and what they will do in that short time can be done aplenty in due time by the robotic landers like next generation Oportunities and Spirits </font><br /><br />agree. <br /><br />when we look back at how slowly the rate of manned exploration has been unfolding since the 1960s, and how technology has leaped far ahead ---yet garnered nearly no new pioneering breakthroughs with actual humans--- we are in the equivalent of the "1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue" level of sophistication and manner of pioneering. actually behind that because Columbus used manned ships. <br /><br />since then, it has taken nearly 500 years since 1492, for example, to go to the remotest parts of the planet Earth with men in ships and on foot on the polar ice with dogs. we are nowhere near this equivalence in Lunar and certainly Martian exploration. <i><b>nowhere</b></i> near it. consider the Moon and Mars the "new" Arctic/Antarctic of pre-Perry/Falcon/Shackleton exploration days. <br /><br />at this rate we have currently, it will be a few centuries before we even begin to "habitate" any other world seriously. and i mean to the level of human presence where people can travel at will far over the horizon of any given landing site; the equivalent of what robots do today. i assure you, <i>humans are nowhere near this level of autonomy on any other planet's surface. </i><br /><br />and it will never happen in our lifetimes. were lucky to see only a week stay maybe once to Mars and maybe twice or 3 times to the Moon. sure, it's cool, but hardly comprehensi
 
J

JonClarke

Guest
I would strongly advise you to do some research before writing this sort of stuff.<br /><br /><i>I would say lets forget those tourist flag waving endeavours...</i><br /><br />The Apollo missions were one of the greaest achievements of the human race to date. Why would you want to forget them? The Apollo astronauts were not tourists and there was less flag waving than might have been the case. <br /><br />[...if we get people landed on Mars it will be worse than on Moon, they will be extremely limited in every way and won't be able to do much at all...<br /><br />I suggest youy actually look at some Mars misson profiles before you say stuff like this. Even the most limited Mars missions would explore more territory than all the Apollo missions combined.<br /><br /><i>...at the back of their minds will be that fear if they are going to be able to take off again to return LOL and won't be in mood for some serious exploration...</i><br /><br />This is at the back of the mind of <b>everyone</b> who pushes the envelope with respect to exploration. It does not stop them from doing serious work though.<br /><br /><i>...even if they could and what they will do in that short time can be done aplenty in due time by the robotic landers like next generation Oportunities and Spirits </i><br /><br />Human explorers on foot will do it a day what it takes the MERs a year to accomplish. Give them a light rover and they will accomplish more in a day than both rovers have achieved combined.<br /><br /><i>besides we know that the Moon is as dry and dead as doornail and always was and why would anyone want to waste their time in that waste... </i><br /><br />Quite a few people do. I suggest you familarise yourself with their position.<br /><br />Tumlinson<br /><br />http://www.amazon.com/Moonrush-Improving-Earth-Resources-Apogee/dp/18949591</safety_wrapper <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
Status
Not open for further replies.