WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say the moon has significant amounts of water, perhaps twice as much as the Sahara Desert, which could facilitate eventual manned bases there.
In an experiment last year, NASA crashed a spent-fuel rocket into a lunar crater at 5,600 miles an hour while orbiting satellites analyzed the debris thrown up by the impact and found water in the form of ice, plus a host of other resources, including hydrogen, ammonia, methane, mercury, sodium and silver.
NASA announced its discovery of lunar water a year ago this month, but now more detailed analysis of the data concludes there is a lot more water on the moon than anyone expected, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
“It’s really wet,” Anthony Colaprete, a space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., says.
He and his colleagues analyzing the data estimate that 5.6 percent of the total mass of the targeted lunar crater’s soil consists of water ice.
At that percentage, 2,200 pounds of moon dirt would yield a dozen gallons of water, he said.
The presence of so much water strengthens the argument for establishing a manned lunar base from which to launch other interplanetary adventures, NASA says.
A source of water on the moon is critical because the cost of transporting a large amount from Earth would be prohibitive.
On the moon, a bottle of water would run about $50,000 because that’s what it costs, per pound, to launch anything to the moon, NASA says.
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