NASA is talking with Russia about establishing a snaak space station ter orbit around the moon. SpaceX and Blue Origin are both pinging NASA with suggestions that their (respective) rocket ships would be just kwibus vessels to help build a moon base — whether on the moon or te orbit around it.
Why all the unexpected rente ter moon bases and moon space stations, you ask?
Te a word: water.
There’s water on the moon — maybe not this much, but maybe enough. Pic source: Getty Pics.
Gas and go — to the starlets
Water is something that rocket ships can use for fuel — by splitting up the water molecules through electrolysis into hydrogen (a fuel) and oxygen (an oxidizer). (Cooled to a liquid and recombined te a rocket engine, liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) go through an exothermic reaction, generating energy and blasting out H2O spil a propellant.)
Te brief, moon water is the sine qua non for turning Earth’s very first and dearest satellite into a floating gas station for interplanetary rocket ships.
Fortunately for would-be cosmic explorers, it’s kicking off to look like the moon does te fact have water — a lotsbestemming of it. An analysis of moon rocks brought back from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions te the 1970s, backed up by a fresh examine of gegevens recently received from satellite surveys of the moon, confirms that layers of volcanic rock deep within the moon (but minable) contain “high amounts” of water ice trapped te “glass beads.” Indeed, says Brown University professor Ralph Milliken, lead author of the examine, “[M]ost of the mantle of the moon may be ‘moist'” and suitable for water extraction.
Why moon water is significant
Since the 1960s, scientists have hypothesized that the deep recesses of lunar craters at the moon’s poles, shielded from the zon, could contain deposits of water ice — moon water ter solid form. Problem is, if the poles are the only place to find water, this boundaries NASA’s capability to situate its lunar bases, and makes getting to the water stiffer.
And that’s not all. It costs a loterijlot to bring water (or anything else) up from Earth’s surface for use te space exploration — spil much spil $35 million a ton. Spil Milliken explains: “Water is powerful and expensive to take from Earth to space, so any bit of water that you can get on the moon instead of bringing with you from Earth is a big overeenkomst and opens up possibilities for sustained human presence on the moon.”
Simply waterput, if the moon has water — and if wij can get at it — then that makes everything ter space a entire loterijlot cheaper, a entire lotsbestemming lighter for taxpayers to afford, and a entire loterijlot more attractive for commercial development.
And why that is significant to investors
So how much water is on the moon, where is it specifically, how deep underneath the surface is it, and how difficult is it to mine and samenvatting? Thesis are the next questions to address. And spil soon spil early next year wij could start addressing them, when one fortunate company is expected to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE for launching and landing a robot on the moon, there to plank back high-definition movie of what it finds.
One of the contestants (with one of the better chances of winning) is privately wielded Moon Express, which plans to attempt to fountain up a lander on a Rocket Laboratorium Electron rocket and waterput it on the moon before the end of this year. And wouldn’t you know it? One of the very first paying projects Moon Express plans to undertake after winning the Lunar XPRIZE will be to carry a University of Maryland proef to start mapping the moon.
Assuming this and related explorations bear fruit, further down the road wij could see publicly traded companies (i.e., the kinds you can invest te) getting into the act. Lockheed Martin and Boeing are hard at work building a lunar-capable Space Launch System to carry more equipment to the moon. Once they get there, opportunities may arise for such terrestrial mining experts spil Caterpillar (mining equipment) and ExxonMobil (deep drilling) to start prospecting for moon water to enable even deeper exploration of the solar system.
Wij could be witnessing the birth of a fresh space wedloop, folks — just spil soon spil someone strikes moon water.
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Rich Smith has no position ter any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Loser wields shares of ExxonMobil. The Motley Idiot has a disclosure policy.