Thursday, September 24, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

My desire for extra-planetary emigration is well documented, so, when I saw two interesting articles about water on both Luna and Mars, I had to talk about them and their effect on bringing about the belated retrofuture.

Before I talk about the moon, I want to mention a finding that has been overshadowed by the moon finding (which, admittedly, is very very exciting.) However, Here on Between Worlds I'm going to give Mars the first billing. a few meteorites that smashed into mars last year have uncovered martian ice at latitudes much closer to the equator than we have expected to find ice. This means that ice is much more plentiful on mars than we previously thought.

What I find most fascinating about this is a coincidence that only proves that nature has a twisted sense of humor. One of the meteorites revealed ice no more than 4 inches from where the 1970's Viking 2 lander dug a trench into mars. If the viking lander had dug its trench only 3.5 inches deeper, it would have likely revealed the ice, and certainly would have changed how we view mars and martian exploration in the past 4 decades.

But onto the big story of the day, The Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission, using NASA's Moon Meteorology Mapper, has discovered that the moon is damp. Water, while not abundant, is definitively present on the moon. One of the major problems that has been facing a Lunar Colony has been the assumed dryness of the lunar surface. If we were unable to find water on the moon, we would have to ship it all up from earth, and that puts a major major crimp in any plans. the energy cost of shipping it all up is extensive to say the least (if you don't believe me, ask anyone who has gone to burning man)
 Furthermore, we gain more than just drinking water when we find water on the planetary bodies and moons we wish to colonize, Rocket-fuel and Breathable Oxygen all can be made once we have that good ol' Hydrogen Hydroxide (don't listen to the fools who call it 'dihydrogen monoxide' they don't know what they are talking about).

These findings force us to radically change our previous conceptions about the rarity of water in the solar system. The increased water we find throughout the system can and will be used to sustain human colonies on other planets.  Overpopulation has become a major problem for humanity, we can fix this in two ways, decreasing population, and increasing resources/area. However, our home planet is fast becoming tapped out of resources, so, where do we go? To the stars, where else? This is one of the major callings of our generation. We must break free from the gravity well that keeps us on this planet. The water findings just give us the confidence that allows us to take bold action in taking the next step to become the first species (so far as we know) to spread itself out to the stars.

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