Debate Over Moon Water

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dryson

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http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/0 ... water.html

If there is not any water on the Moon then why can we not create a still by using the many thousands of small craters pocketing the Moon's surface? It would not be that difficult to build a solar still.

I have enclosed a scan of a method of collecting water from a survival handbook. The resolution isn't very good but the picture is more then enough to convey the idea. Although the process of using a drinking cup to collect the water and a sheet of clear plastic would not work on the Moon, the theory of how the process works can be applied to the Moon. What would need to be done is too engineer a film or sturdy plastic covering with a heavy weight at the center of the overall diameter of the crater to pull the center of the plastic down into the center of the crater bowl. The bowl could be lined with a flimsy yet sturdy milar/kevlar liner that would trap the water as it condensed off of the plastic sheeting. The water would then be harvested and used for drinking, irrigation, and the production of reactants for use in engine's that would then transport crew and equipment from the Moon to the ISS and then onto Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt where even more solar stills could be built to facilitate the production of potable water for drinking, irrigation and reactants.

This could be a good time to get a contest going using the idea above to come up with working theories and models of the solar still.

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/1143/scan0001zuu.jpg
 
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MeteorWayne

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There's one serious problem with your idea. The moon has no atmosphere. The water vapor in earth's atmosphjere is what allows the prcess to work on earth.

Since the moon has no atmosphere at all (well a few molecules of various gases, but no water vapor at all) there's no water to collect.
 
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neilsox

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If I recall correctly the survival still works during hours of darkness. As the plastic film cools in the night AIR, the relative humidity reaches 100 % causing the water vapor to condence on the bottom surface of the plastic film. 1 Can we have relative humidity in an extreme vacuum such as the surface of the Moon? Perhaps, if there is some water vapor. 2 If there is significant water vapor then the water was lost to space billions of years ago. 3 if there is very little water vapor, likely none will condence, even if the film temperature is 100 degrees k 4 Any that does form will be frost instead of liquid water. The frost, if any, could be scraped from the plastic film. 5 If we wait until sunrise, the frost, if any, will sublimate to water vapor, skipping the liquid phase (no dripping) as the sun warms the plastic film. I think there is a solar still, but I forgot how it works and how it is constructed. Likely AIR is essential. Correct me if I'm wrong. Neil
 
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MeteorWayne

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I repeat, the moon has no atmosphere. It has no water vapor. Any water, if it exists at all, exists as ice in buried in permanently shadowed craters at the poles. That's exaxtly what the LRO and LCROSS missions that are about to launch are designed to investigate. But that would be the only place.
 
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aphh

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There is no need to bring water in a separate tanks to the moon as part of the payload.

Just make the hydrogen and oxygen tanks that much larger and use the excess hydrogen and oxygen to produce water and chemical energy. 2H2 + O2 -> 2H2O + energy.

Use the by-product energy to generate heat or electricity. Main product of the combustion would still be water.

Also, moon soil is rich in oxygen. If we could separate the oxygen from the regolith using solar energy, now we only need to bring hydrogen to the moon to make water.
 
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origin

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neilsox":10obzsxh said:
If I recall correctly the survival still works during hours of darkness. As the plastic film cools in the night AIR, the relative humidity reaches 100 % causing the water vapor to condence on the bottom surface of the plastic film. 1 Can we have relative humidity in an extreme vacuum such as the surface of the Moon? Perhaps, if there is some water vapor. 2 If there is significant water vapor then the water was lost to space billions of years ago. 3 if there is very little water vapor, likely none will condence, even if the film temperature is 100 degrees k 4 Any that does form will be frost instead of liquid water. The frost, if any, could be scraped from the plastic film. 5 If we wait until sunrise, the frost, if any, will sublimate to water vapor, skipping the liquid phase (no dripping) as the sun warms the plastic film. I think there is a solar still, but I forgot how it works and how it is constructed. Likely AIR is essential. Correct me if I'm wrong. Neil
Just a clarification, the solar still works during the day. You dig a hole and put plastic over the hole this raises the temperature in the cavity which causes the water in the soil to vaporize and condense on the inside of the relatively cool plasitc sheet.

And of course this could not work on the moon....
 
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