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Explorers on the Moon: Ice on the Moon?

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jock123
Moderator
#11 · Posted: 25 Sep 2009 18:50 · Edited by: jock123
cigars of the beeper:
it is really not surprising that it should be present on the moon or other planets.

Given the reaction from many top scientists, I think we have to accept that it is reasonably surprising… ;-)

The conditions on the Moon were not thought conducive to the presence of water, to the point that when water was detected in samples brought back by the Apollo missions, it was thought to have been the result of contamination during transport. These recent results show that the original analyses were correct, and that water exists as very fine films on the surface of particles.
As for the Moon having been formed from the Earth, apart from the fact that this would have to have happened before there was free water on the planet (it would have been largely rock or molten rock), the favoured thought at this time is that the Earth and Moon actually formed at the same time; this doesn’t gainsay the fact that they are thus formed from more or less the same material, of course, but I think it’s an interesting subject…
cigars of the beeper
Member
#12 · Posted: 25 Sep 2009 19:11
jock123:
apart from the fact that this would have to have happened before there was free water on the planet

Yes, of course. This proposed idea took place long before the earth was anything like it is now, probably even before it had solidified. Any water at that point would have probably been vapor in the atmosphere, which probably was completely unbreathable

I am actually reminded of the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, when Q takes Captain Picard back to the beginning of life on earth, and says to him something like "Smells awful, doesn't it?"
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#13 · Posted: 30 Sep 2009 15:12 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
I think the amazing thing is that the scientists are now saying that the water on the Moon is actually forming there in a day and night cycle. Nobody knows yet what's causing the phenomena, but it apparently occurs only in daylight. I was reading one scientist who said that hydrogen from the solar wind could be interacting with oxygen in lunar rocks to create trace amounts of water. And she estimated that if you filled a soda bottle with lunar soil, there would be about an eyedropper's worth of water.

I remember when the existence of ice, or water, on the Moon was (sort of) discovered about ten years ago with the Lunar Prospector and Clementine probes. The Prospector's spectrometer detected water at the Moon's poles, but when it was later crashed (purposely) into one of the poles to look for evidence it found nothing, so there were mixed results.

Also, many observers had been saying for a long time that they'd seen (or fancied they'd seen) ice forming and evaporating on the Moon whilst observing with their telescopes (including our very own Patrick Moore), so perhaps some of them have been vindicated now. Including Hergé of course.
cigars of the beeper
Member
#14 · Posted: 30 Sep 2009 18:29
Wow. I wonder how that works. The explanation I heard as to why there isn't much water on the moon was that the solar wind and lack of pressure just kind of blow it away. You'd think that something which takes away one thing wouldn't give it in another way.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#15 · Posted: 1 Oct 2009 10:06
With reference to my earlier point about "astronomers observing ice on the Moon": thinking about it, I'm not sure whether I really heard this or whether I've confused it with something else. I might have been thinking about 'Transient Lunar Phenomena', which is the observation of lights or mist on the Moon usually attributed to gases or volcanic activity. People have seen ruined cities, animals, mists and fires on the Moon over the centuries, but I can't find any reference to people actually observing ice, so I've probably made that up!

Still, that's not to say that the 'Transient Lunar Phenomena' isn't really caused by water evaporating from the surface... ;-)
cigars of the beeper
Member
#16 · Posted: 1 Oct 2009 19:33
Harrock n roll:
volcanic activity

I don't know about that. I have been told that the moon has been "burnt out" for a long time.
jock123
Moderator
#17 · Posted: 1 Oct 2009 21:37
cigars of the beeper:
I have been told that the moon has been "burnt out" for a long time.

It’s still open to interpretation. Some assert that there is possibly some molten material at the core of the Moon. Even if this is not the case, it is entirely possible that gases which were created at the time it was active are still making their way to the surface from the interior, where they escape.

cigars of the beeper:
The explanation I heard as to why there isn't much water on the moon was that the solar wind and lack of pressure just kind of blow it away. You'd think that something which takes away one thing wouldn't give it in another way.

Well think about what happens on Earth: sunlight evaporates water, which “blows away”, and then falls back to ground. Vapour - or at least some of it - would presumably be falling back to the surface. Remember too, that in spite of being virtually a vacuum, the Moon does possess an atmosphere, albeit an extremely tenuous one. If the particles of water as described in these findings are very small and fine, they may get acted on by, and indeed form a part of, this atmosphere…
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#18 · Posted: 2 Oct 2009 00:48
I was reading on the 'net earlier about Hans Hörbiger. He was an Austrian pseudo-scientist who after observing the Moon became convinced that it was made of ice. He then developed his "World Ice" theory (Welteislehre), which was basically that ice had determined everything in the universe. He developed it into a scientific, philosophical, poetic and artistic world view. After Hörbiger's death the Nazis adopted Welteislehre as their cosmological viewpoint, a Nazi alternative to the 'Jewish' theory of relativity.

The Wiki page on Welteislehre mentions that Willy Ley (a famous German rocket expert who had moved to the US before the war, and probably one of the big influences on Hergé's research), had once tried to point out to Hörbiger that the daytime surface temperature of the Moon was far to high for the existence of ice, but Hörbiger responded with "either you believe in me and learn, or you will be treated as the enemy." I guess he wasn't very open to criticism then....

Anyway, this at least proves there was some debate that there was ice on the Moon (or that it was made of the stuff in this case) around at the time Hergé was creating his book - it might perhaps have influenced Hergé's thinking, even if indirectly.
cigars of the beeper
Member
#19 · Posted: 2 Oct 2009 17:49 · Edited by: cigars of the beeper
I am reminded of a (crackpot) theory I read about which stated that all rocks on earth were made from these fossil creatures called nummulites. That is especially strange because we know of some kinds of rocks that come molten from the ground!
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#20 · Posted: 8 Oct 2009 09:52 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
If all goes well, tomorrow (9th of October) NASA will be crashing the LCROSS orbiter into the Moon's south pole to search for water. The impact will throw tons of debris (and potentially water ice and vapour) above the lunar surface.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/oct/07/moon-lcross-nasa-miss ion

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