Somewhere, perhaps there is a little kid, who upon reading inflated claims that the moon is basically a gigantic soggy mud-flat, will be inspired to study science, eventually joining NASA. He eventually will become the Director of NASA, and will terminate all moon missions, all ISS missions, and instead concentrate all of NASA's energies at robotic exploration of deep space, in search of other habitable planets. The search will be a success, and shortly before he leaves his position at the top of NASA, he'll direct a ship filled with supplies and robots and human embryos to embark on a 100 year trip to the newly discovered habitable planet, succeeding at both the first interstellar travel and human extraterrestrial colonization for the first time.
Perhaps, as the Gospel of Mark says; this one little data point suggesting water on Mars will not make any obvious difference, but it will be a tiny mustard seed planted, and one day grow into a bush providing shade for birds.
That is my hope.
Because there are no obvious ramifications to the current problem of colonizing the Moon, solely because 24 gallons of water were found in the shadow of a crater near the Pole. And the biggest question we should be asking anyone who suggests moon colonization is "why?" There is no real good reason to colonize there. Should Earth's environment fail, or should a giant meteor blast the surface of Earth, or should a deadly virus wipe out mankind, or should any number of apocalyptic events occur, the moon colonists would also be doomed. Without eventual resupply, they would either vacate the moon or die.
No, in terms of human colonization, planets with habitable atmospheres are the only real option. The Moon, for what its worth, might make a neat tourist attraction for the obscenely wealthy. But as far as government-funded space exploration goes...the Moon is a waste of money and time.
"Water on the Moon is a game changer." American astrophysicist Jack Burns said last Thursday. You mean it goes from a 10-year, $150 billion game to an even bigger boondoggle? And if water on the Moon really were such a big event, why didn't you say it back in September when the Indians found water all over the moon? The American media downplayed that discovery, so that two months later when the American exploration found water, they could trumpet the discovery, almost as though they were the ones who got there first! One American even had the presumption to say that the Indian satellite data supported the American mission. Supporting data was created before the intial data was collected! Now that is pioneering science! That would be like me claiming Microsoft's Xbox replacement is awesome, before the actual device is ever built! Then when it turns out to be awesome, Microsoft points to my precognitive review as supporting data!
In any case, the Moon could have vast liquid oceans and it wouldn't change my opinion about colonization. Until the moon has a breathable atmosphere (it never will) and until an Earth-clone ecosystem can be set up there (we never can), I will argue that Moon missions are a egregious waste of taxpayer dollars that could be better spent on real, actual science. Like methods for interstellar exploration.
And honestly, you should just laugh at NASA's obsession with extraterrestrial water. Between the Asteroid Belt, the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud, the huge, vast, massive, overwhelming majority of non-gaseous objects in our solar system are made almost entirely of frozen water.
And here's a question: if asteroids have been bombarding the Moon for millions of years, and one of the primary components of asteroids is frozen water, and scientists found the recently announced water in the crater of an asteroid...why is this not obvious to anyone else?
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