http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.09Change: -0.10
R/$ = 10.73Change: -0.07
Au 1267.65 $/ozChange: -19.53
Pt 1413.00 $/ozChange: -11.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Oct 09, 2009

Evidence of water on the moon, Mars alters planning for manned bases

Back
San Diego|Space Science Systems|Systems|Water|Greenland|United States|International Space Station|Systems|Ken Edgett|Water|Antarctic
|Systems|Water|||Systems|Water|
san-diego|space-science-systems|systems-company|water-company|greenland|united-states|international-space-station|systems|ken-edgett|water|antarctic
© Reuse this



Water on the moon and on Mars has been hot news over the last couple of weeks.

The surprise with the moon has been that small quantities of water have been detected all over the moon, and not just at the poles.

Three different space probes have confirmed these results, the latest being the Indian spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, which was carrying a US National Aeronautics and Space Administration- (Nasa-) built moon mineralogy mapper (M3).

The M3 detected a small quantity of water all over the moon. Since the mapper could only penetrate the top few millimetres of the moon’s surface, the evidence of water came as a surprise because, until now, the top layer of the moon’s dusty surface was assumed to be bone dry.

The observations of the M3 device were confirmed by previous missions, namely the Cassini, which passed the moon in 1999, and the Deep Impact Spacecraft. The latter is still on its way to its final mission, which is to crash into a comet 103P/Hartley, the target date for the impact being November 2, 2010.

But as the Deep Impact Spacecraft passed the moon, it used its detectors to ‘look’ down on the surface. All three spacecraft confirm the findings.

It is still the case that scientists expect to find quite large amounts of water in the craters at the poles of the moon.

More excitement is only weeks away because two other spacecraft are now on their way to the moon with the specific intent of looking for water. They are Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the LCRoss impactor, which are going to explore the lunar south pole craters, looking for water ice.

However, the recent find has thrown up other information as well, and that is that the water signature varies, depending on the time of day, being strongest in the early morning and weakest at midday.

This indicates that the water is not static – something happens during a day cycle, and this then provides a mechanism for water to migrate to the poles.

This mechanism would explain why the poles indicate large volumes of water compared with the equator.

So why is this so important? Well, as the old saying goes, water is life.

A major challenge in planning for a manned moon base has been how to supply astronauts with water. Currently, the astronauts in spacecraft, such as the International Space Station (ISS), drink their own urine. Of course, it is recycled back to clean water before they drink it, but water is so valuable that every drop is saved.

Water on the moon in reasonable quanti- ties would be a major factor in being able to build a moon base that is permanently manned, much like the Antarctic research bases of today.

A day after the announcement regarding water on the moon, another water announcement followed – this time, it concerned the planet Mars. Much more water has been found on Mars than previously thought. Another spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has shown clear evidence of huge subsurface ice sheets extending from the poles halfway to the planet’s equator. What is more exciting is that the ice is very pure, being about 99% water. Previously, it was thought that the water would be about half ice and half dirt.

In August 2008, members of the Mars Recon- naissance Orbiter’s team examined images and were surprised to see bright blue mate- rial poking up from the bottom of a crater. It turned out to be ice, but it soon disappeared with the warmth of the sun.

Now the spacecraft has examined the bottoms of five newly formed craters and found a large quantity of ice.

There are clear indications that water once flowed on Mars, so, perhaps, there used to be rivers and lakes there. Ken Edgett, a member of the Space Science Systems team, in San Diego, in the US, has said that they estimate that the total water ice on Mars is equal to the volume of the Greenland ice sheet on earth. That is a lot of water.

Such findings also alter the entire picture for the planning of manned bases on Mars.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
The US's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has rightfully achieved a major place in the history books. Nasa took humans to the moon, created the International Space Station and built the Space Shuttle fleet, besides many other achievements.
There has been quite a fuss in the press of late about maths and science teaching in schools. A study carried out by researchers showed the maths pass rates to be poor. What's more, it revealed that the pass rates at more senior levels were worse than at more junior...
In July, a Nuclear Designers Forum was launched. This proposal was initially formulated by the company Resonant Nuclear, of Centurion.  The company discussed the idea with Nuclear Africa and, together, we have started the Nuclear Designers Forum. It is a Web-based...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 4 minutes ago Fibre has emerged as a key aspect of telecommunications group Telkom’s turnaround and its ambitions of becoming “a clear broadband leader”. Speaking at the Southern Africa Telecommunications Networks and Applications Conference, in Port Elizabeth, on Tuesday,...
Updated 18 minutes ago Access to the Internet was fundamental to educating South Africa’s uneducated, unemployed and rural citizens, a panel of speakers at the Southern Africa Telecommunication Network and Application Conference (Satnac), held in Port Elizabeth, agreed on Tuesday. The...
Updated 41 minutes ago Small, 100 MW nuclear power plants could be the answer to Africa’s electricity generation challenges, Nuclear Africa CEO Dr Kelvin Kemm said on Tuesday, stating that he believed in 100 years’ time, the world would mostly be run on nuclear power. “I believe...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel has announced its fourth consecutive year of profits. The group's results for the financial year 2013/2014 were recently announced at its head office in Centurion, south of Pretoria. Revenues grew by 17%, net...
There is little opportunity for JSE-listed infrastructure company Group Five to grow shareholder value in the domestic market, says CEO Mike Upton. He says value can still be found in the private sector, in the renewable and industrial power sector, as well as in...
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has announced the event dates of the 2015 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). The event will take place from October 14 to October 25, 2015, at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.
UK engineering support services provider Babcock is set to deliver the largest order of global truck manufacturer DAF’s truck tractors in Southern Africa to bulk carrier road-based logistics company Ngululu Bulk Carriers (NBC), with 133 trucks to be delivered in...
Digital radio communications in the African local government space can open up the world, but have many challenges to overcome, notes integration and migration of legacy radio communications infrastructure with digital mobile radio company Emcom Wireless head of...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks