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Water on the moon – yes!

In November of last year, NASA announced an amazing discovery - water on the moon. Last week, six scientists announced in Science magazine that in fact there is much more water than originally thought - about twice the concentrations that are found in the Sahara. 

The Wall Street Journal outlines the important implications:

The large quantity boosts the case for a manned lunar base from which to launch other interplanetary adventures. Water is crucial because its components, hydrogen and oxygen, are key ingredients for rocket fuel. Oxygen can also be extracted from water to make breathable air. Finding a water source on the moon has long been a dream, because it could save on the expense of transporting it from earth. A bottle of water on the moon would run about $50,000, according to NASA, because that is what it costs, per pound, to launch anything to earth's nearest neighbor.

In December 2009, I noted in spiked that there was remarkably little public discussion about the discovery of water on the moon, despite its tremendous potential. Now it looks like the latest announcement might also be treated with a collective shrug.

This has nothing to do with the technical nature of space exploration: the moon has long been a source of inspiration. But what's lacking is a desire for progress and exploration, especially from the top of society. And since last year's original finding, the Obama administration has lowered horizons about the space program further, canceling planned moon missions, among other down-sizings (which I posted about here and here).

There is such great potential, if we would only lift our eyes.

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