“Just as Earth orbit was necessary to go beyond Earth orbit, “mastering” the Moon is necessary to going beyond the Moon.” – Joel Raupe, AmericaSpace.org
Last Friday NASA released data from the collision of an empty rocket stage and a crater on the southern tip of the Moon that occurred one year ago. Two satellites were orbiting the Moon at the time and analyzed the ejecta from the 5,600 mph collision. NASA has determined due to the data it received from the collision that the Moon potentially holds twice as many gallons of water in the shadowy areas of its craters as than previously thought.
Why is this important? In order to have a Moon base and to minimize the cost of transporting materials to the Moon, astronauts need to have a way to “live off the land.” With water being discovered in copious amounts on the Moon, astronauts can purify it for drinking, cooling purposes, and irrigation for Moon grown plants in lunar greenhouses. Since water weighs 8 lbs. to a gallon and the cost of flying one pound into orbit is around $50,000.00, the discovery of water at the Moon is a major savings in launch costs.
Also, water is made of two components, hydrogen and oxygen. These are primary rocket fuels. Using water on the Moon, astronauts can make their own rocket fuel to both return home saving the cost of transporting that extra fuel to the Moon, and use the fuel to launch missions into deep space towards Mars and other locales from the Moon. Also the oxygen can be used to replenish the atmosphere inside the Moon base for the astronauts to breathe therefore saving even more costs.
My question is did NASA sit on this data until after Congress and Obama killed Constellation a few weeks ago? To release this data before the killing of Constellation would have made it more difficult for Obama and his cronies in Congress to accomplish their goal of destroying America’s Human Space Flight Program.
From the Wall Street Journal, “The U.S. likely won’t be involved in manned voyages to the moon anytime soon. President Barack Obama recently canceled a NASA program to return astronauts to the lunar surface a decade from now…But other countries are gearing up. China has pledged to land astronauts on the moon by 2025, and India has plans to do the same by 2020. Japan wants to establish an unmanned moon base in a decade, potentially setting the stage for a manned mission later.”
I think it is a good question and hopefully someone in the media, besides this website, will ask NASA’s Charlie Bolden if NASA deliberately sat on this data until after Constellation was killed.
Update: Looks like NasaEngineer.com and AmericaSpace.org are starting to wonder the same thing.