11 thoughts on “Water On The Moon”

  1. A few years ago I remember hypothesizing during one of my Moon presentations that factors like the UV rays breaking down the chemical bonds of the regolith at the surface, causing it to darken over time, the implantation of SWIEs, which include both hydrogen and oxygen, the difficulty instruments seem to have in distinguishing between water and hydroxyls, recent (then) re-examination of the Galileo Lunar calibration data showing water (or at least hydroxyl) signals at latitudes well beyond those expected, and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe what we’re seeing is a new kind of “water cycle” specific to the Moon.
    Of course I also wonder things like if some kind of lithope could be genetically engineered to survive exposed on the Lunar surface making use of those faintest traces of water. Or hydroxyls. Yeah, scientists aren’t the only ones who are curious.
    As David noted above, we really do need to just go there and start doing this science. Instead of having well-paid scientists futzing around with computer models in offices, testing assumptions against speculation. Let’s test ground-truth data instead. Seems much more scientifically sound…

  2. If there is mineable water in lunar polar region, we don’t want NASA mining it. And it seems we don’t want NASA making lunar bases until someone is selling rocket fuel on the Moon. And you would put a base somewhere near the place that rocket fuel is made.

    But unless Congress is frantically wanting a lunar base and is giving piles money for it, NASA should explore the lunar polar region to see if there is lunar water, worth mining.
    And it does not seem Congress is throwing much money at idea of exploring moon. And NASA talking about lunar bases, when it isn’t known there mineable water, seems to be distraction from the idea of exploring the Moon and then exploring Mars.
    NASA can’t explore Mars yet, because NASA has failed to test artificial gravity.
    It’s possible the private sector will make artificial gravity stations and a landed Starship could function as lunar base.
    But rather than repeat the mistake with Space Shuttle, NASA should be focused on exploring the lunar polar region, and then move quickly to exploring Mars {and obviously having Mars bases {I would think a lot of them- as Mars is very large area to explore}. Of course a Starship could serve as base on Mars. But if find some cave on Mars, one put a base in the cave- something that Starship isn’t particularly suited for.

    But as said, I think NASA should use Venus orbit as part of Mars exploration. And maybe drag Gateway to Mars or Venus.
    What seems certain is that Mars settlements will have to use Venus orbit.
    And mining space rocks will use Venus orbit.

    1. What seems certain is that Mars settlements will have to use Venus orbit.
      Even if we end up having nuclear thermal rockets?

      1. I am talking about the 2.1 window between Mars and Earth. I am talking reduce to average of about 1 year {halving it}. So 2.1 years is constant, it’s clock.
        Using Venus can’t said as a constant.
        NASA considers a Mars to Venus to Earth return- but it’s flyby and is rare.
        I am talking flybys, but also stopping and waiting and refueling at Venus.
        If stop at Venus {use it’s atmosphere to stop} you can get to Venus from Earth as quickly as 2 months.
        And you do same from Mars {use Venus atmosphere to stop. And from Venus {like from Earth} you use Mars atmosphere to stop.
        So Musk of getting to Mars from Earth in 6 month, has a much shorter distance if instead going from Venus to Mars. So, guess, 4 months from Venus to Mars, rather than 6 month from Earth.
        If have rocket fuel at Venus, it better than leaving from Earth, to anywhere, you have more windows and it’s faster.
        To save delta-v costs, you don’t go the Venus low orbit, you are say 100,000 km away, or perhaps closer if need to use it’s shadow. Or staying close the velocity of Venus escape.
        We did this with Mars and areobraking and having highest part orbit something like +50,000 km and spiraled in. {though with Venus you stay there rather trying reach low orbit and might raise the “perigee”. And at high orbit it takes less delta-v to change inclinations {and there is no Van Allen Belts}.
        So I what saying is NASA should add infrastructure so it use Venus more. And Martian are going want shorter travel times to Earth. And Venus is a market for Martians.

        1. I’m not arguing there aren’t benefits to perhaps an Earth-Venus rendezvous to Mars final destination given current chemical rocket technology, but you didn’t answer my question either. Nuclear thermal can potentially get you direct from Earth to Mars in 45 days. If you have that why bother with Venus?

          FYI not sure I’m a big fan of trying to store that much liquid hydrogen in space as propellant. But if you used water vented directly out of the reactor as steam how much ISP do you give up? I wonder if it still practical? (Guess I should do some research).

          1. –David Spain
            September 21, 2023 at 6:55 PM

            I’m not arguing there aren’t benefits to perhaps an Earth-Venus rendezvous to Mars final destination given current chemical rocket technology, but you didn’t answer my question either. Nuclear thermal can potentially get you direct from Earth to Mars in 45 days. If you have that why bother with Venus?–

            But nuclear rocket would have 2.1 year window of getting to Mars in 45 days.
            But I like to discuss nuclear rocket, why can’t chemical rockets do same 45 days to Mars and/or if boost a nuclear rocket with chemical rocket can it there faster.

            It seems the advantage of nuclear rockets is you ship hydrogen from Earth and it has less payload mass and compared to LOX and LH2.

            And it seems if you mine water on the Moon, in terms mass of rocket fuel, you get 8 times more LOX than LH2. Or you mostly getting oxygen and 40% of mass of the Moon is oxygen. So water and rest of Moon’s mass is oxygen.

            Or if you mine lunar water, the LOX will be cheaper. So basically nuclear rocket need LH2 shipped from Earth.
            It is true there is a lot H2 and Helium on the Moon but it’s trace and have have large scale mining operation to get it.

            Or what delta-v from the Nuclear rocket gets you to Mars in 45 days.
            General it seems to me, Chemical rockets can get and most benefit from Oberth effect, whereas nuclear rockets would work better when you can’t or don’t want an Oberth effect.
            Do you agree?

          2. Or say it differently. You have hohmann transfer with patched conic- and get to Mars in 7 month rather than 8.6 months. The patched conic is a smaller amount of the delta-v.
            And with nuclear rocket far more delta-v is spent on the “patched conic” part. Or no Oberth effect and it’s changing vector.

            And ion engines likewise aren’t helped by Oberth effect and are likewise largely about vector change.

            So rather than chemical rocket boosting a Nuclear rocket, it could boost ion rocket. And get a large amount delta-v.

            So say point at Earth L-2 and push Ion engine second pass the Earth/Sun L-2 point at say 4 km/sec, than Ion stage takes the payload to Mars.
            From LEO it could take awhile for Ion only rocket to get to L-2, and chemical rocket first stage is a day or two.

          3. Oh, click on link.
            They sell car they aren’t giving the MPG.
            What is delta-v.
            And read them before and they give something like 12 km/sec delta-v.
            With Apollo and staging, it’s totals about 16 km/sec. Or chemical with staging can match
            12 km/sec.
            And we can recover a first stage with Earth launch, and we can do something similar in space- or, just expend it.
            Once government will allow nuclear powered cargo ships on Earth- then maybe nuclear rocket in space- otherwise govt is operating these rocket- and it’s worse than SLS.

            Also even if had nuclear rocket which could get to Mars in 45 days, the govt probably not send crew to Mars in 45 days, they want to save money. Or only way to do it, is have races where fastest rocket to Mars wins the race.

  3. Another one:
    The Moon’s Craters Might Contain Far Less Ice Than We Hoped
    21 September 2023
    By Michelle Starr

    Some are hoping for trillions of tons of water.
    What are we hoping for?
    One thing I am hoping for, is ground truth.
    We got years of orbital exploration, now, let’s see how wrong it was.
    Or NASA obsession has been exploring Mars {and ignoring the Moon for decades]. So rather NASA plan, the US govt decided to first explore the Moon and then explore Mars.
    Rather than continue to not explore Mars.
    So, the Moon was exploring someplace never explored before, and using the crewed lunar mission as a testbed for Mars exploration.
    Or way I would say it, is if NASA can’t explore the lunar polar regions, it is unable to explore Mars.
    It might be, that NASA can explore the Moon {no proof of this, so far} and is unable to explore Mars.
    Or let’s do something relatively easy, first. And once that done, there is some hope, that something harder and far more expensive could be done {and not take more than a century of not doing it}.

    Mineable lunar water is, roughly 100,000 tons of water in a small region {1 to 3 square km] which could be commercially mine and the worth of 100,000 tons of water is around $100,000 per ton.
    10 billion dollars of water is not exciting or thrilling, but it’s something which might mined within time period of less than decade or two.
    But could find more mineable water than that. Or it and few other similar areas exist, but quite possible the NASA crew program doesn’t locate them. Maybe they find 5000 tons of water somewhere. So if don’t find enough lunar water, perhaps other will continue
    explore the Moon {China, India, Russia, and etc} meanwhile, it’s been a successful lunar exploration program, let’s go to Mars. Where NASA also should search for mineable Mars water. And a lot of other stuff.

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