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Water on the Moon


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NASA has found water on the Moon's lit surface.

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/26/927869069/water-on-the-moon-nasa-confirms-water-molecules-on-our-neighbors-sunny-surface?t=1603753199805

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-01222-x#_blank

Abstract from Nature Astronomy:

Quote

Widespread hydration was detected on the lunar surface through observations of a characteristic absorption feature at 3 µm by three independent spacecraft1,2,3. Whether the hydration is molecular water (H2O) or other hydroxyl (OH) compounds is unknown and there are no established methods to distinguish the two using the 3 µm band4. However, a fundamental vibration of molecular water produces a spectral signature at 6 µm that is not shared by other hydroxyl compounds5. Here, we present observations of the Moon at 6 µm using the NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Observations reveal a 6 µm emission feature at high lunar latitudes due to the presence of molecular water on the lunar surface. On the basis of the strength of the 6 µm band, we estimate abundances of about 100 to 400 µg g−1 H2O. We find that the distribution of water over the small latitude range is a result of local geology and is probably not a global phenomenon. Lastly, we suggest that a majority of the water we detect must be stored within glasses or in voids between grains sheltered from the harsh lunar environment, allowing the water to remain on the lunar surface.

Interesting news, though not Earth-shattering, probably.

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6 hours ago, Jon2071 said:

This is such an interesting discovery.  It is also interesting that Russia claims to have discovered water on the light side of the moon in the 70's.  That is what the following video claims anyway.   https://al.ly/dUeug5

I wouldn't be too surprised if there were something to those claims. During the Cold War there were similar episodes in science.

Thank you.

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  • 2 months later...
3 hours ago, cannongray said:

The water persists both on the dark and light side so the new settlement can be built on whenever we want.

There is no constantly dark or light side

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Yes. There is a dark side, of course, but the same way the earth has a dark side: We call it night, and night on the moon lasts about a month.

But “dark side” is not a geographical description like e.g. “western hemisphere” 

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18 minutes ago, swansont said:

Yes. There is a dark side, of course, but the same way the earth has a dark side: We call it night, and night on the moon lasts about a month.

But “dark side” is not a geographical description like e.g. “western hemisphere” 

But it is a discription of us... One imagines...

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The 'Dark side' can be geographical location if that is how we decide to name the other side of the Moon. For sure it is not always dark, but language moves in mysterious ways (Greenland is not always green)... In fact, the 'Dark side' seems to be so widespread that we might start putting it into dictionaries.

...

I understand there are constantly dark spots on the bottom of some deep craters on the Moon. Did we confirm ice there? Is this in form of ice sheets or something that I wouldn't recognize as ice when looking at it?

 

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44 minutes ago, swansont said:

Yes. There is a dark side, of course, but the same way the earth has a dark side: We call it night, and night on the moon lasts about a month.

But “dark side” is not a geographical description like e.g. “western hemisphere” 

But, as I understand, in common slang "dark side of the Moon" means the side that we never see from Earth. Although it's not always dark. Ergo: misnomer.

11 minutes ago, Danijel Gorupec said:

For sure it is not always dark, but language moves in mysterious ways (Greenland is not always green)...

I think it was Eric the Red who decided to call it "Green land" so that his fellow Vikings would buy into the idea of going there looking for pastures new. May be an apocryphal story.

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5 hours ago, cannongray said:

The water persists both on the dark and light side so the new settlement can be built on whenever we want.

If I may comment on just this bit, our moon is tidal locked meaning that one side of the moon always faces Earth and the other side always faces away from Earth.  Both sides do receive sun exposure amid this locked rotation.  The "dark side" of our moon is not a reference to its level of luminosity but rather to its unobservable position relative Earth. 

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4 hours ago, swansont said:

We call it night, and night on the moon lasts about a month.

Two weeks is more accurate. :)

3 hours ago, DrmDoc said:

If I may comment on just this bit, our moon is tidal locked meaning that one side of the moon always faces Earth and the other side always faces away from Earth. 

Because of libration (a wobbling motion) of the moon we can, over time, see about 59% of the lunar surface.

4 hours ago, Danijel Gorupec said:

I understand there are constantly dark spots on the bottom of some deep craters on the Moon. Did we confirm ice there?

Ice is confirmed in craters at the lunar south pole. The presence of this water is the primary reason this is targeted for visits and base contruction in NASA's Artemis human landing program.

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5 hours ago, joigus said:
6 hours ago, swansont said:

There is no constantly dark or light side

Such a misnomer...

Well, that's that then.
Into the rubbish with my Pink Floyd album ...

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The first evidence of water on the Moon was made by a space probe called Clementine from memory which they crashed into one of the Lunar Polar craters, back in the early nineties.

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A bit of mental arithmetic without checking... is that between 2.5 and 10 metric tons of lunar material to get 1 litre of water? I expect the soils in Earth's deserts have a lot more water than that. Any suggestion this will be sufficient to enable colonisation looks exceptionally optimistic to me.

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14 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

A bit of mental arithmetic without checking... is that between 2.5 and 10 metric tons of lunar material to get 1 litre of water? I expect the soils in Earth's deserts have a lot more water than that. Any suggestion this will be sufficient to enable colonisation looks exceptionally optimistic to me.

I got the same numbers. This discovery was considered noteworthy because they were looking at equatorial regions were it was expected no water would be present. Presumably there is a greater abundance at the poles? Couldn't find reliable figures on a quick search.

Interesting question about how much is needed to enable colonisation. The proximity of the moon (relative to other celestial bodies) means any colony need not be fully self-sufficient. Speculating, if He3 became a sufficiently valuable commodity then companies would be willing to ship all the water they needed up from Earth - the tricky word being sufficiently. In short the viability of a lunar colony would be dependant upon economic factors in addition to the engineering ones. 

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