planetwater

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Water on Moon and in Space

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I have a draft of a blog post on water outside earth in the works since quite some time now. Various information has been added, whenever I read something about water on the moon or on mars, which are the two places where it has been found, I think. I am not sure exactly where I am going with this. However, I noticed over the last half year or so an increased rate of published news on this topic. So at least this is a start to reflect on what is going on.

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Water and Moon

Photo via FlickR

Recently, water has been found on the moon

  • NASA mission: LCROSS, see also Wired or NYTimes
  • Nov 13 2009 reported
  • 26 gallons (about 14 kettles) supposedly identified
  • all based on remote sensing of pictures that were taken from a satellite crashing into Moon (October 9th).
  • there have previously been hints/guesses/evidence that there is water on Moon (here or here …). So this is really not overly surprising, except it might indicate water in frozen form
  • last week (March 1st, 2010) is was reported that millions of tons of water ice have been found at moon’s north pole

I am not sure how this fits into the big picture, or why we do care. Here is Peter Gelick’s opinion why we care:

Why do we care? Obviously, this water isn’t going to help solve any of our water problems here on earth. But if we do, as a species, move out into space, water is the single most important resource we can find. It is too heavy to move water from the surface of the Earth into space, but if we can find it out there, it can be used for drinking water, to make oxygen for breathing, hydrogen for rocket fuel, and to produce food.

I agree. Water in space can be very helpful if we humans want to go into space. Is there more? Is this in the wake of the 40th birthday of the first landing on the Moon?

  • there is evidence that there is water on Mars: here are two things that have been found out recently:

    • clay minerals have been found which indicate that water has flown through them (summary interview part 1 and part 2)
    • the presence of perchlorate has been confirmed, which is a molecule metabolized by some earthly bacteria
    • some people have developed already hydrogeologic numerical models for the flow of water and CO2 on mars
  • there is some evidence pointing to water really really far away

It seems likely that if there’s water in space, this water could be or could have been used by life:

But most noteworthy might be the NASA chief’s optimism for detecting extraterrestrial life. “I would be very surprised if we didn’t find life elsewhere, and frankly I expect to live to see it,” Griffin said. “I would be surprised to find that life never originated on Mars, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to find dormant or quiescent life underground,” he added.

Written by Claus

March 7th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

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