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November 13, 2009

There's Water in Them There Moon-Hills!

And if there's water, there's the chance of life.

No, not Moon-life. But if there is water on the moon, we don't need to space-truck all that heavy liquid up there, but instead can just put up the (much lighter) machines necessary for extracting it.

Which makes a Space: 1999 moon-base ball-park possible, if at least 40 years late.

Based on the measurements, the team estimated about 100 kilograms of water in the view of their instruments — the equivalent of about a dozen 2-gallon buckets — in the area of the impact crater (about 80 feet, or 20 meters across) and the ejecta blanket (about 60 to 80 meters across), Colaprete said.

"I'm pretty impressed by the amount of water we saw in our little 20-meter crater," Colaprete said.

"What's really exciting is we've only hit one spot. It's kind of like when you're drilling for oil. Once you find it one place, there's a greater chance you'll find more nearby," said Peter Schultz, professor of geological sciences at Brown University and a co-investigator on the LCROSS mission.

This water finding doesn't mean that the moon is wet by Earth's standards, but is likely wetter than some of the driest deserts on Earth, Colaprete said. And even this small amount is valuable to possible future missions, said Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist for Exploration Systems at NASA Headquarters.

And so why would we go to the Moon and live there, anyway? I don't know. Seems cool. And in an Aasimov book (IIRC), all the sexual mores on Luna Colony totally lightened up, like gravity, so all the chicks walked around with their knockers hanging out.

So that's something, at least. Chicks walking around with their knockers floating around in .16 earth gravity, like bouyant sex-puddings.

We could probably also run some tests to see how spiders build webs in low-gravity, and other such make-work PR "experiments" suggested by children. That, and naked moon-jugs floating around rambunctiously like one of Kevin Bacon's space-socks, and I think we can secure funding.

On the plus side: Obama could spend $50 billion and actually be able to claim he really has created 50-100 jobs with our money. Gotta work better than the cash he's pissing away on earth.

Correction: Commenters say this sounds more like Heinlein in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and that sounds more right to me. I remember putting it down (blasphemy, I know!) because his loopy sexual-utopian stuff sounded frankly juvenile to me, and I was, like, 10 years old.

I just didn't get why, after spending a couple of years on the Moon, suddenly it would all be Haight-Ashbury meets Swedish Nudist Soft-Porn. I mean -- these people did remember earth, right? They didn't immediately forget their past 30 years of earthly upbringing upon landing on Luna Base, right?

The narrator was surprised to see that men and women donned bras and jockstraps to play one of those dumb games that always turns up in sci-fi -- some sort of very vague mix of jai-alai and basketball and, um, quidditch in low gravity -- and his female guide offered the explanation that "We have little modesty, but still, we do not want dangly things swinging about," which I guess I was supposed to take as titillating but honestly, even at ten, I felt pandered to.

Or maybe I felt it was "titillating" circa 1963, before technological advances brought us Benny Hill 6 hours a day on various non-network local channels. I mean, once you've seen Hill's Angels, reading about exposed lunatits just sort of leaves you cold.

So I think I put it down and read Conan in Beyond the Black River for the sixth time.



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posted by Ace at 05:52 PM

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