Friday, November 13, 2009

Water on the moon - Official confirmation from NASA

NASA has announced that it had discovered water on the moon.

It was announced by project scientist Anthony Colaprete
"I'm here today to tell you that indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn't find just a little bit; we found a significant amount" -- about a dozen, two-gallon bucketfuls, he said, holding up several white plastic containers.

Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington, said the latest discovery also could unlock the mysteries of the solar system.

We can see the images from LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite)

NASA found water on the Moon by analyzing the impact data gathered by 'bombing' moon using LCROSS.

"We've got more (water) than we thought, maybe a lot more than we thought, so we're really quite excited about that," said Luke Sollitt, assistant professor of physics.
The big question to answer next is how water is distributed on the moon.

Sollitt said he envisioned sending an unmanned lunar rover to dig in the soil for better data on how much water is there. "We have a whole new branch of science that we can start to explore," he said.
Astronauts could use water on the moon for survival in space and to make rocket fuel at a lunar base, he said.

explains the significance of this discovery as below.

Nasa has been so keen to find water on the Moon because it brings the dream of a permanent lunar base one step closer. If water exists in the quantities that Nasa now believes, it could be drunk by astronauts, turned into oxygen to make stations inhabitable and – most excitingly – converted into fuel. The Moon could then become the space equivalent of a service station – acting as a staging post for manned missions to Mars.

"The presence of significant quantities of ice on the lunar surface catapults the moon from an interesting waypoint to a critical launching pad for humanity's exploration of the cosmos," said Peter Diamandis, CEO and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, which is running a $30 million contest for private moon rovers.

According to, LCROSS found lots of other volatile elements in the debris plume and/or the vapor cloud released by the impact.
These may include:
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • methanol
  • ethanol
  • ammonia
  • other organic molecules

There are lot of discussions and arguments going on about this announcement by NASA, whereas Chandrayan I of India already has informed about Water on Moon. Actually a US-built instrument on the Chandrayaan-I spacecraft already detected traces of water on the lunar surface.

Water on the moon could boost Marshall Space Flight Center programs to explore the lunar surface, asteroids or even Mars.

Find below some comments/opinions/discussions from people.

After teaching middle school science students for years that there is no water on the Moon, I am only too happy to apologize for my error!

This is probably the most expensive water we've ever found. But, if we go to the moon, it could turn out to be among the most valuable as well.

Any dollar spent on setting up a permanent colony on the Moon is of course better than a dollar spent on occupying Iraq.

Discovery of frozen water in the moon's permanently shaded polar craters could open the door to human colonization of the moon and beyond. more..

i'm not happy about this plan to bomb the moon. could we reallocate the money to instead come up with creative ways to use water more wisely on earth? just saying...

Could this also mean (since water contains oxygen) that we possible could breath without space suits?

This is indeed intriguing. All this talk about the Indian's discovering water and then some saying the American supplied the instruments for Chandrayan. The ISRO mission discovered tangible evidence for water in some locations on the moon. The following U.S mission narrowed in and confirmed it. It was a team effort. That's the problem with people in South Asia these days they are so embroiled in promoting their selfish agendas they ruin it for the few that actually put humanity as a whole in front of their personal interests. Just calm down and be glad that we are making progress as a planet.

Chandrayan saw water only along the thin surface layer of the Moon. It detected water bound to particles. LCross kicked up measurable water vapor and unbound amount. This indicates ice. Chandrayan and LCross complements each other and NASA acknowledges publicly as such.

This is very typical of US news, India's ISRO program had found the existence of water first. Yet when NASA takes a lot at it and says they found water on the Moon, it becomes their discovery because of the way the information is distributed by news sources. This could also be a part of the reason why many foreign people hate the US

The probe on the ISRO craft that found the water WAS made by NASA, so obviously NASA had reason to claim credit for it's own discovery. Get your facts straight before accusing them of deceiving the public.

I got news for you, Chandrayaan mission already found water on the moon. So what's the difference between Chandrayaan-1 and Nasa mission? Is Nasa grabbing the spotlight from the Indian mission that was done last september? Don't tell us what we already know.

How many hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars are to spent on getting people on an airless rock or a low-gravity, toxic-atmosphere desert rock with 300 mph duststorms? To what end? Before you plan on having a purely curiosity-based waystation on the path to Mars, perhaps you need to figure out how to sustain a population of billions on Earth without destroying the biosphere of Earth, first.

The use would be to obtain water, oxygen and hydrogen for drinking, breathing and generating power respectively for further space exploration, because the moon has 1/6 the gravity that earth has and therefore launches from the moon would require less propulsion than from earth.

I think both NASA and Obama think we need another mission because a current mission to the moon may reveal alot of very embarrassing lies and deceptions. None of this adds up. These knuckleheads are trying to get us to buy that they need to "reinvent" the wheel to get to the moon. Nonsense.

Can we PLEASE stop littering across the universe and calling it discovery? Its like humans have this desire to throw aluminum trash throughout space.

OK, so there's water, and where there is water there are fish. Alien fish. Now we all know that the Icelanders and Japanese are going to say that this stuff is more than 200 miles "offshore" but I, for one, will not stand idly by while lunar whales are harvested for so-called "scientific purposes" while actually being used to manufacture ineffective aphrodisiacs. And yes, I know perfectly well that whales are not fish, but you know perfectly well what I mean. So lets all stop bickering among ourselves and do something about this imminent biological catastrophe before it's too late.

79 Million worth it? You bet!!! How some people are against space exploration i don`t know. Far Better then giving 700 billion away. These kinds of research missions certainly should have been done more then decade ago. Just imagine the 700 billion spend on our first US Mission to MARS. You want to stimulate the Economy, Instant success. And what about building Telescopes large enough they could take the first quality pictures of Earth like Planets. With the knowledge and experience gained the Human species would never be the same. Space Research & Exploration FTW!!!

Wake up you people, this is the USA seeking ownership of the moon. should they discover there is oil on the Moon, you can bet they can lay claims to owning it. How come though, that if they supposedly landed on the moon back in 1963, that they haven't done so since then. It is one of the biggest lies told.

NASA needs to have its entire upper management replaced and needs to have the national space technology mission defined for it as Earth-focused.

well, you can make a moon base there, and from there you can do lots of things, besides looking for life. and here's a list : helium-3 extraction for fusion, space tourism, all sorts of research, mythbusters special editions, space paintball, alien treasurehunts and so on and so forth

Who cares if there is water on the moon? Or on Mars? Or anywhere else? How is that going to be of any value to anyone? The space program is one of the biggest wastes of money.

From an economic point of view, water on the Moon is the equivalent of finding “gold in the hills of California.” ...more

Forget about sending people to the moon to drink the water there, and instead spend the $3 billion a year on improving the drinking water here on earth. ...more

Didn't we land on the moon a while back? How did we miss "significant" amounts of water? I'm just wondering how accessible it is.

Mars has water. Various moons in the solar system have water. Water isn't that uncommon. And nothing says water = life.

US is pretty good at repeating discoveries done by other countries (especially developing like India) in the name of testing and then tagging them as DISCOVERED BY US. The same happened with this one.

This is huge. I repeat, HUGE. With several hundred kilograms of water observed in the ejecta, who knows how much more is below the surface? Congratulations to the visionary scientists and engineers at NASA.

Yeah how about you get me a cup of moon water...then you get your stinkin peace prize.

If water is just like any other water (H2O), why are there so many kinds of bottled water?

There's water on the moon, does it really matter if there's water on the moon?

Lastly, ask yourself what the first letter A in NASA stands for and then ask yourself what NASA has done for that A. Zilch in my view.

Doesn't matter if you can extract oxygen for atmosphere if:
1. The moon doesn't have enough gravity to hold an atmosphere.
2. There isn't eight nitrogen molecules for every oxygen molecule. (Most of our atmosphere is nitrogen)
The hydrogen and oxygen would be useful for fuel. We're talking about rockets from the moon to other planets here, not breathing. We can already artificially recycle air to breathe.

Beyond water, the moon is suspected to be packed with natural resources which could be used locally, or even brought back to Earth if of high enough value. ...more

I mean, come on, everyone. Humans live on Earth. Remember? We don't live on Mars. We don't live on the Moon. We don't live on a moon orbiting Jupiter. We live on Earth. And we always will, and it is probably best to focus our political and economic initiatives on making that a longer-term proposition than it currently seems to be.

Isn't all that water polluted ;-)

Some people are considering this as Bad news.

Even some people started writing poem about "Water on the Moon".

Water on the moon.
Blood on the earth.
Tears on the Throne.
We are not alone.
...Read full poem

It seems Chandrayaan discovers Magnet also on the Moon. Let us wait and see whether NASA confirms this new also. explains how Moon produces its own water as below.

The Moon is a big sponge that absorbs electrically charged particles given out by the Sun. These particles interact with the oxygen present in some dust grains on the lunar surface, producing water. This discovery, made by the ESA-ISRO instrument SARA onboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, confirms how water is likely being created on the lunar surface.

Google celebrates discovery of Water on the Moon by showing Google Doodle representing Water on the Moon on home page of

You can follow @nasa to get updates as tweets from NASA.

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Lacelyn said...

I'm against space exploration. Does no one remember the Tower of Babel? Where everyone in the world built a tower trying to reach heaven and God punished them for it by seperating them all and making them speak different languages? If he went through that trouble to get them from doing it then what makes you think he wants us to fly spaceships up to the heavens? And what makes you think he even wants us to fly airplanes?! Plus all that money that is spent on this stupid NASA Exploration could be used to feed our children and homeless. Our country is in a difficult time and they are talking about spending billions on going to the moon. Who cares!

Anonymous said...

The discovery of significant amounts of water on the Moon is a remarkable event in the history of space exploration. Congratulations to all the scientists and others involved in this excellent work.

Regarding the Tower of Babel and the ethics of space exploration, I think Lacelyn has missed the point of the biblical narrative. According to the biblical text, the motivation behind constructing the tower was twofold: (1) to exalt the builders, and (2) to prevent their being dispersed throughout the world.

In the context of the larger narrative, the first motive is suspect on the possible grounds that the builders sought to exalt themselves rather than seeking to exalt God. The second motive represents a possible act of defiance against God's command to populate the entire world. Other possible sins implicit in the narrative involve the metaphorical role of Babylon and the precise nature of human rebellion against God.

God's stopping the builders at Babel has long puzzled serious students of the Bible, but on one thing all credible commentators agree: The physical height of the planned tower was not the issue. Objecting to space exploration on the grounds that God intervened to stop the construction of the Tower of Babel without understanding the episode in its biblical context requires an act of exegetical violence against the text.

As science reveals more of the wonder and beauty and power of God's Creation, science enables us, if we are willing, to see more of the majesty and beauty and power of God. Providence has given us the ability to explore space. Soli Deo gloria.

man said...

I see some comment like NASAs on board instrument on chandrayaan discovered water on moon .. But this says a different story

Jade said...

It is truly historical and will probably prove to be the most significant advancement in space exploration of the past several decades.

As for the significance of the discovery, I am filled with excitement at the prospect we could use the water on the moon to generate a habitable environment on the moon. I don't mean just a contained environment inside a colony, although that's definitely more possible now. What I'm referring to is the possibility of somehow "seeding" the surface of the moon to create a vapor layer (atmosphere) that would insulate the surface and gradually build and accumulate to the point where it retained heat and allowed melting ice to contribute to the atmosphere.

It might take centuries to accomplish (or longer), but the scientific prospects are fascinating and irresistible.

I've started a website to begin collecting thoughts and ideas about "Greening the Moon." If you're excited about this too, spread the word and share your thoughts:

Term paper said...

It’s great to see good information being shared and also to see fresh, creative ideas that have never been done before.

Hamza said...

Lunar water is water that is present on the Moon. Liquid water cannot persist at the Moon's surface, and water vapour is quickly decomposed by sunlight and lost to outer space. However, scientists have since the 1960s conjectured that water ice could survive in cold, permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's poles.
Water, and the chemically related hydroxyl group ( -OH), can also exist in forms chemically bound to lunar minerals (rather than as free water), and evidence strongly suggests that this is indeed the case in low concentrations over much of the Moon's surface. In fact, adsorbed water is calculated to exist at trace concentrations of 10 to 1000 parts per million


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