http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.59Change: -0.06
R/$ = 10.55Change: -0.03
Au 1303.61 $/ozChange: -0.34
Pt 1440.50 $/ozChange: -4.00
 
 
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
 
Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013   Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science & Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office 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
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
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
Sir Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientists of all time.  He developed amazing mathematics, such as calculus, and also developed laws of physics related to motion, gravity, light, heat and more. Newton was a great intellect – there is no doubt about that...
Article contains comments
The Nuclear Africa 2014 nuclear power conference unfolded extremely well and according to plan. The conference was designed to achieve objectives and was intentionally laid out with a plan in mind.
Congratulations have to go to gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti for the amazing malaria programme that the company has piloted in West Africa. The programme, which the company started in Ghana, is now spreading to other African countries. Malaria is still one of...
More
 
 
Latest News
Charl Coetzee
Updated 1 hour 9 minutes ago Namibia is set to get a skills boost as a new information and communications technology (ICT) centre starts training network engineer recruits to maintain the Southern African country’s own infrastructure. Telecom Namibia, in conjunction with XON Systems and...
Ismail Vadi
Updated 1 hour 21 minutes ago The Gauteng provincial government (GPG) on Wednesday launched the GoGauteng mobile application (app) aimed at assisting commuters in planning their journeys, an alternative route app to provide road users with the resources needed to avoid e-toll roads and also...
Updated 2 hours 10 minutes ago The ultra-deep Angolan offshore oil project called Kaombo generated the third huge contract in three days on Wednesday when French group Total picked two firms to carry out underwater engineering worth $3.5-billion. The latest groups to win a share of the mega...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 2 hours 37 minutes ago There is enough water in South Africa to supply communities and the economy, even if some activities may be constrained, such as agriculture in the Limpopo, says National Planning Commission commissioner Mike Muller. 
Muller was also the director-general from 1997...
South African antenna designer and producer Poynting and provider of professional products, system integration and implementation and commissioning services for the broadcast and telecommunications markets in South Africa, African Union Communications (Aucom),...
Industrial automation giant Festo has been displaying some of the its ongoing research projects and latest automation developments and products at the Hannover industrial fair from April 7 to 11, as part of its Integrated Automation – The Next Steps theme. The...
South African retail companies are responding to the way in which e-commerce is changing their engagement model with customers by improving customer engagement channels and order fulfilment intelligence, says industrial and retail software company JDA Europe, Middle...
In support of the South African government’s mandate to create more jobs and promote sustainable development, multilevel marketing company Amway’ business model aims to assist government in easing the startup of business and encourage an entrepreneurial mindset...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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