A study published in the Journal Nature Astronomy reveals that the darkest parts of the Moon likely harbor hidden stores of ice, easily accessible to astronauts.
It is imperative for the human race to reach the stars. Numerous scientists, philosophers, and writers have agreed that humankind is destined for the stars. We are species that belong among the stars, even though our current technology only allows us to inhabit our planet and live temporarily in orbit around the Earth in space stations.
But humankind is eager to explore the stars, and evidence of that are numerous missions that are currently active. As you read this, we are exploring the Moon, Mars, and the solar system in general. Some of our spacecraft—Voyager 1 and 2—have already reached interstellar space, and we are working on colonizing Mars.
We will probably land a human on Mars by the end of the decade, and NASA and SpaceX are working hard to make this possible.
But going to Mars requires a pit stop in space, and what better place for an outpost towards outer space than Earth’s moon?
The lunar surface—and lava tubes on the Moon—is the ideal place where mankind can build its outpost to help achieve mankind’s goal of becoming an interplanetary species.
This, by no means, is an easy mission and will require great effort, new technologies, and a large budget. But it is necessary if we are to become a species that colonizes the solar system.
To create an outpost on the moon, we need to have a safe environment and resources that will allow the prolonged human occupation on its surface or beneath it.
For humankind to exist on the Moon, water is essential for its survival and as a raw material that can be used to produce fuel.
Luckily for us, we have recently discovered vast traces of water on the Moon. A new study now suggests that an area covering approximately 25,000 square kilometers on the Moon is covered by frozen water.
Lots of water
The presence of hidden pockets of water could be much more common on the surface of the Moon than scientists have suspected. In some cases, these small patches of ice could exist in permanent shadows no larger than a coin, according to a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder published in Nature Astronomy.
“If you can imagine standing on the surface of the moon near one of its poles, you would see shadows all over the place,” said Paul Hayne, assistant professor in the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU Boulder.
“Many of those tiny shadows could be full of ice,” the researcher explained.
The water on the Moon could literally be trapped in what scientists are referring to as “cold traps.”
In their study, Hayne and his colleagues explored lunar “cold traps,” which are essentially gloomy regions on the surface that exist in a state of eternal darkness. Many have gone without a single ray of sunlight for billions of years. And these nooks and crannies may be far more numerous than the data above suggests.
Based on detailed data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the researchers estimate that there are approximately 25,000 square kilometers of permanent shadows on the moon and it is in these regions where deposits could exist that, according to their theory, could conserve water through in the form of ice.
“If we are right, the water will be more accessible for drinking, for rocket fuel and everything else that NASA would need,” explained Hayne.
This, if true, would mean that water is far more accessible on the moon than initially thought which in turn would mean that building lunar colonies will be much easier than previously thought, as we would not need to haul water from Earth to the moon, but obtain it directly from the lunar surface.
While this is certainly exciting, Hayne points out that his team can’t prove that these shadows actually contain ice pockets, since the only way to do that (prove it) would be to send astronauts there and have them explore the craters in search for ice.
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Source and reference: University of Colorado Boulder / All other sources and references are linked throughout the article. If something isn't right, please let us know.