Archive for the ‘Astronomy News’ Category

LCROSS Crashed to the Moon

October 11, 2009

For those, who still did not see the LCROSS crash:

Nothing spectacular :) Unfortunately scientists did not say right away if they found water, more data analysis required. I am pretty sure, that if there were lots of water in that crater, then they would be able to confirm it right away. It means that even if water exists in dark Lunar craters there is not so much of it (which sucks).

We’ll have to build a base on Mars and skip the Moon ;)

LCROSS Team Changes Impact Crater

October 7, 2009

Sometime ago I wrote about some LCROSS troubles, but they did not affect mission much and we still going to see the big boom. Recent news is that LCROSS team changed an impact crater. They did it because latest data from other Moon satellites points for a better target. This is where LCROSS will search for water:

Cabeus crater is a new target for the mission. Image from: chungyc.org

It is amazing for me to see how different teams from different countries can efficiently communicate and help each other. I hope this awesome mission will be a success and there will be enough water on the Moon, so we won’t have excuses not to build a permanent station there.

We already know that there is a bit water on the Moon, but for sure it would be great to find more. If you are interested in tiny details, read press release on LCROSS mission website.

Water On The Moon Found

September 24, 2009

Yesterday space.com published an article which said, that water on the Moon is officially found. If you imagining rivers and oceans, it’s not like that :) Moon is dryer than any desert on Earth, but still scientists estimate about 32 ounces (900 g) of water per ton of Moon’s regolith.

There is a good possibility to find water in the craters which never see direct sunlight. Image from: wikinfo.org

There is a good possibility to find water in the craters which never see direct sunlight. Image from: wikinfo.org

How was water discovered? Well, there is still no direct evidence of it, but three different spacecrafts (India’s Chandrayaan-1, Cassini and Deep Impact spacecraft) detected that there is something with hydrogen+oxygen in there and they assumed that it’s water. That’s why I personally is not that much exited about that announcement. Still nothing can beat the direct water detection expected from LCROSS mission.

LCROSS spacecraft will drop a rocket stage to the Moon to see if water will fly out of the impact. After that its going to crush itself there to sacrifice itself for the sake of science. Image credit: NASA

LCROSS spacecraft will drop a rocket stage to the Moon to see if water will fly out of the impact. After that it's going to crush itself there to sacrifice itself for the sake of science. Image credit: NASA

What does water give us? First of all if people would ever live there on a permanent basis, they will drink this water. Second, you can use water as a fuel (sounds fantastic, right?). It is possible to break water to hydrogen and oxygen using electricity (from solar panels for example). Later you can burn hydrogen and oxygen and use energy from burning to do some useful work (drive a lunar car for example). When you burn hydrogen and oxygen you get pure water, which you can split again later with electricity, etc… Pretty cool stuff and very eco-friendly as well ;)

Artists conception for the Moon base. I dont know if I will live long anough to witnes it. Image from: daviddarling.info

Artist's conception for the Moon base. I don't know if I will live long enough to witness it. Image from: daviddarling.info

Where did water come from? There are two main hypothesis for that. One says that comets crushing into surface brought all the water (those comets which brought water to Earth, those comets which spread the life all over the Universe, blah-blah :), second hypothesis suggests that Solar wind (protons and hydrogen atoms) collide with Moon’s surface (which is 45% oxygen) form a bit of water.  Water presence on the Moon means a lot of good stuff for us if we ever are going to make a permanent lunar base — we can drink it, we can breath oxygen from it, we can burn it.