The moon is sprinkled with patches of frozen water, scientists discovered. Mining it may be crucial for travel to Mars .

The moon is littered with patches of hidden

water, NASA researchers have discovered.

That's great news for the agency's plans to send astronauts back to the moon, set up a permanent base there, and eventually use it as a stopping point on the way to Mars.

Those ambitions hinge on the ability to mine water ice on the moon and break it down into oxygen and hydrogen to make rocket fuel. Since it's extremely expensive and difficult to launch enough fuel off Earth to get astronauts to Mars, water on the moon is likely to play a critical role in kick-starting a new era of human deep-space exploration.

"You start making gas stations in space. This really starts cutting your dependence on bringing all that fuel from Earth," Angel Abbud-Madrid, the director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, previously told Business Insider. "That's really been what's holding us back from deep-space exploration."

Artist's concept of astronauts and human habitats on Mars.JPL/NASA

Until now, NASA didn't know how much water could be available on the moon or how easy it would be to mine. But two papers published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday make the future of lunar ice mining much brighter.

One of the studies confirmed the presence of molecular water in the moon's surface dust for the first time. The other identified tens of billions of small, cold regions in shadows across the moon where the sun never shines and ice rests on the surface.

"Both, in different ways, would seem to indicate that there's more water available on the lunar surface than we've been thinking even recently," Leslie Gertsch, a geological engineer at the Missouri University of Science and Technology who was not involved in the studies, told Business Insider. "Whether it's mineable or not is another question."

No comments

I you have any doutas. Please lmt me know

Powered by Blogger.