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Ice Found on Moon’s North Pole Could Support a Permanent Lunar Base

This is how sci-fi novels start: an estimated 600 million metric tons of ice discovered at the moon’s north pole might be enough to supply water to a permanent base on the moon, according to scientists.

And we won’t even have to bomb the moon to get to it! It’s been lying in extremely dark, shadowy craters this whole time.


Scientists estimate that this amount of water could easily sustain a moon base, or, if the oxygen in the ice was converted to fuel, could fire one space shuttle per day for 2,200 years.Last year, scientists found almost 26 gallons of water ice on the moon’s south pole, by crashing a rocket hull into a cold, dark crater. The crash produced a plume of material that provided evidence of water ice on the moon’s surface.

The craters which house the water deposits at both the north and south poles of the moon are extremely dark, cold, and most never catch any sunlight. Temperatures in some of these permanently darkened craters can drop as low as 25 Kelvin (-248C; -415F) — colder than the surface of Pluto — allowing water-ice to remain stable [BBC].

Moon base, or millenia-long daily stream of rocket launchings? (Admittedly, the latter being based on far more efficient water separation than we can currently get by electrolysis.) Decisions, decisions. Maybe we build the base, fire perpetual rockets for only 1,100 years, and try to get a piece of some of those maybe spuriously priced $20 trillion asteroids?

(via 80Beats.)

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