This week, NASA announced a discovery that may make a permanent lunar base a reality.
On Monday, the agency’s researchers announced that they found a large amount of water on the surface of the moon, trapped in small ice bags in the entire lunar soil. These signals were detected by the Stratospheric Infrared Observatory (also known as SOFIA) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They estimate that the total amount of water is equivalent to 12 ounce bottles per cubic meter of soil per month.
They also found the first evidence that water exists in the sunlit area of the moon, not just at the poles.
Essentially, the discovery suggests that humans may have easier access to water than previously thought, greatly expanding the area of the moon in which humans may exist, and whether they can go further into space.
Private companies like SpaceX and government agencies like NASA, as well as other companies in China and Europe, have made it clear that they plan to build a lunar base. However, if they want to work, they need to take full advantage of what the local environment has to offer.
Basically, after entering space, the more resources you can find and use, the fewer resources will be sent when launching.
“Water is a precious resource in space,”
Location, location, location— One of the main effects of this discovery on these plans is that it expands the locations where humans can open stores on the moon for three reasons.
First, despite treatment, astronauts can still drink water.
Secondly, water is not just for drinking. NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Chief Exploration Scientist Jacob Blecher explained on Monday that water can be converted into oxygen for astronauts.
Third, it can also be used to make fuel.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk declared in October 2019 that fuel is one of the main challenges for lunar bases. The company’s “interplanetary spacecraft” is designed to use liquid oxygen and methane, which are chemicals that astronauts can produce from carbon dioxide and water. SpaceX hopes to build a gas station on Mars to take advantage of the planet’s stores. Musk pointed out at the time that the moon lacks carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which is a “great challenge” for refueling starships on the moon. This news shows that it can also be a perfect pit stop.
Back to the moon, 2024— NASA selected SpaceX’s Starship and two other pitches in April as potential solutions for human landing on the moon in 2024. SpaceX also detailed plans to use Starship rockets as the basis for “Moon Base Alpha.”
NASA’s manned moon mission is part of the Artemis program. It involves establishing a lunar channel-essentially a spaceport that will orbit the moon to support manned missions. It also involves the establishment of an Armis base camp near Antarctica, which will initially accommodate one or two astronauts for about four months.
Hertz said: “Through the Artemis program, NASA will put the first woman and the second man on the moon in 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence by the end of this century.” “On the moon, We will prepare mankind to explore Mars.”
SpaceX and NASA are not the only two interested companies. China and the European Space Agency have also expressed interest in permanent settlements. Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos also stated in his 2018 speech, “We must go back to the moon to stay this time.”
But before the astronauts start to pack the straws, more research needs to be done.
Blacher said: “We know that there is water on the moon, but we don’t know exactly how attractive lunar water is to our future explorers. “Knowing where to find water is a good first step. However, we need to learn more about water to understand whether and how to use it for science and exploration. “
Water, water is everywhere-but we may have to wait a while before drinking.