Ice on the Bone Dry MoonAn abundant supply of water on the Moon would make establishment of a self-sustaining lunar colony much more feasible and less expensive than presently thought. Study of lunar samples revealed that the interior of the Moon is essentially devoid of water, so no underground supplies could be used by lunar inhabitants. However, the lunar surface is bombarded with water-rich objects such as comets, and scientists have suspected that some of the water in these objects could migrate to permanently dark areas at the lunar poles, perhaps accumulating to useable quantities. Analysis of data returned from a radio-wave experiment performed in 1994 while the Clementine spacecraft was orbiting the Moon reveals that deposits of ice exist in permanently dark regions near the south pole of the Moon. Initial estimates suggest that the volume of small lake exists, 1 billion cubic meters. For comparison, this amount of water would be equivalent to the fuel (hydrogen and oxygen) used for more than a million launches of the Space Shuttle from Cape Canaveral!
Spudis, Paul D. (Lunar and Planetary Inst. Houston, TX, United States)
August 21, 2013
January 1, 2003
Publication: Space Science Reference Guide, 2nd Edition