Friday the 13th of November 2009. US Space research agency NASA announced that the its NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission which was launched on October 9th, 2009, has helped confirm the presence of “buckets” full of water on the moon.
In fact, NASA scientists believe that the concentration of frozen water on the moon may be far greater than they ever anticipated.
The LCROSS probe impacted the lunar south pole at a crater called Cabeus on Oct. 9. The $79 million spacecraft, preceded by its Centaur rocket stage, hit the lunar surface in an effort to create a debris plume that could be analyzed by scientists for signs of water ice.
Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator from NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California: “Indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn’t find just a little bit, we found a significant amount”
Scientists have long suspected that permanently shadowed craters at the south pole of the moon could be cold enough to sustain water frozen at the surface and have been analyzing a mile-high plume of debris kicked up by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.
(Water has already been detected on the moon by a NASA-built instrument on board India’s now defunct Chandrayaan-1 probe and other spacecraft, though it was in very small amounts and bound to the dirt and dust of the lunar surface)
The US government is dubious about any return mission before 2020. President Obama has said that the budget simply cannot support it before that time. Once the mission is within the US budget, there are talks of establishing manned facilities on the moon as a base for Mars exploration.
Life on Moon?
Living “abroad” doesn’t seem so abroad any more when we start speaking on a galactic level. In this space-crazed and alien-obsessed culture, it is understandable that we could yearn for proof that life outside of Earth’s delicate atmosphere is possible. The discovery of water on the moon is a big step in moving toward that future.
Maybe this is also an opportunity for the human species to fully realize how precious we are and how perfect the conditions need to be in order for us to exist. The view of the Earth from the moon is one that very few have seen. From that distance it would be difficult to see any differences between human beings.
It makes one wonder… why can’t we all just get along?
Perhaps someday our children will have the opportunity to see the Earth from space while they finish a year of studying “abroad” on the moon. Perhaps. And hopefully our petty differences will be a thing of the past.