Ariel Schwartz

Discovery of Water on Moon Means that Lunar Service Station is Possible

by , 09/28/09

water, space station, sustainable design, green design, moon, earth, fuel, energy

Many environmentalists argue that it’s important to focus our attention on Earth’s problems before venturing off into space, but the recent discovery of water on the moon means that exploring other planets could be easier than ever. Now that an Indian mission has discovered hydrogen and oxygen molecules on the lunar surface, the planet can be used as an outer space “service station”, prepping astronauts for their journeys into deep space.

water, space station, sustainable design, green design, space station, earth, moon, water

In such a scenario, astronauts departing Earth to explore other planets could make a pit stop on the moon, extracting water to drink, oxygen to breathe, and hydrogen to fill up rocket tanks.

There are still some hurdles to overcome, however. The moon water is found inside minerals, and extracting it through heating methods uses a great deal of energy. According to Professor Colin Pillinger of the Open University, “You would need to heat up a lot of lunar soil to 200C to get yourself a glass of water”. And of course, launching a rocket to the moon also uses plenty of energy. But if the net energy cost of extracting hydrogen and oxygen from the moon is lower than the cost of transporting fuel from Earth to other planets, the moon might just have a future as the galaxy’s most remote gas station.

Via UK Daily Mail

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6 Comments

  1. alpinenovel October 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

    yay lets just mine the shit out of the moon for water like we do on Earth for crap like soap and who the fuck knows what else and even though were being viewed as doinf something positive and fooling the general population by marketing propaganda in actuality were destroying the moon in the same way we have already destroyed Earth

  2. warner386 October 2, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Ridiculous. And also absurd that you are repeating this fraudulent notion on an environmental/design website. This is one of the most massively inefficient scemes ever concocted. The only reason to slow down, much less “pit” at a “service station” en route to another planet would be to assemble a larger vehicle, or to flyby for acceleration. Neither of these require landing on the moon, which is hugely expensive itself in terms of fuel for landing and 2nd take-off. The idea of extracting water or anything else from moon rocks is a boondoggle attempting to find a justification for building a base or bases there, for what actual purpose remains a mystery … perhaps military? Why are you posting this? Its verging on misinformation.

  3. Eclipse Now October 1, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    The moon with a viable colony opens all sorts of opportunities for sustainable design. Imagine what we would be *forced* to learn about closed loop nutrient cycles, energy, biospheres, psychology, etc.

    However, a *big enough* colony there could also enable satellite manufacturing from the moon bringing down payload costs. That means the $21 billion the Japanese are spending to get a mere 1 gigawatts worth of space-solar power could be drastically reduced.

    Lastly, a viable moon base then allows cheaper launch via Mass Driver/rail gun of moon-rock into space for the construction of an L5 space colony. Once we have a large enough space colony with enough power supplies on board stored up, enough people, and a viable ecology on board, we can nudge that towards Mars and park it in orbit around Mars to gradually colonise and terraform Mars.

    Imagine Polar Bears, Tasmanian Devils, and rare frogs on Mars. Now that is conservation, the ultimate nature-backup prize!

  4. davidwayneosedach October 1, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    it is a great find. Technology for extracting water from rocks is on the way! I see a permanent moon station in our life time.

  5. Helman700 September 29, 2009 at 10:27 am

    The moon isn’t a planet, it’s a moon, that’s why it’s called the moon.

  6. jkmcf September 28, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Here’s a link going into more details about the difficulties involved:

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/blog/semiconductors/devices/tech-talk/why-water-found-on-moon-is-bad-news

    You might need to process a ton of rock to yield a 32oz glass of water. Imagine strip mining on a lunar scale…

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