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Moon NASA Robotics Space

NASA and Astrobotic Investigating Ice Hunting Mission to the Moon 46

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the repurposed-as-newt's-moon-scooter dept.
Zothecula writes, quoting Gizmodo "While the Moon may or may not contain life forms, precious metals or even green cheese, recent satellite missions have indicated that it does nonetheless contain something that could prove quite valuable — water ice. NASA has estimated that at least 650 million tons (600 million tonnes) of the stuff could be deposited in craters near the Moon's north pole alone. If mined, it could conceivably serve as a source of life support for future lunar bases, or it could be used to produce fuel for spacecraft stopping at a "lunar gas station." Before any mining can happen, however, we need to learn more about the ice. That's why NASA has contracted Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology to determine if its Polaris rover robot could be used for ice prospecting."
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NASA and Astrobotic Investigating Ice Hunting Mission to the Moon

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  • Re:Transport (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:15PM (#39796951)

    From Polaris rover [gizmag.com] "Already, Astrobotic has reserved the use of a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle to send a spacecraft containing Polaris on a trajectory toward the Moon, for a planned 2015 prospecting mission. That spacecraft should be able to deliver the robot safely to the lunar surface, using a system that allows it to automatically avoid landing hazards such as large rocks or craters â" ", so it's already being addressed

  • Impressive (Score:5, Informative)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:15PM (#39796953)

    650 million tons of ice sounds impressive, but it's really not a lot considering how much we use.

    650,000,000 - tons of ice estimated on the moon's north pole
    27,000,000,000,000,000 - tons of ice estimated on Antarctica
    5,400,000,000,000,000 - tons freshwater on Earth excluding Antarctica
    90 - tons of residential water use per American per year

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:21PM (#39797061)

    650 millions tons is a lot when you consider that a lunar facility would be recycling most of the water, this gives a nice starting point without having to haul it out of our gravity well.

    This then leaves a lot of extra for use by space craft for various reasons. It's a lot cheaper to lift the water or by products from the moon then it is from the Earth!

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