NASA's ambitious plan to the astronauts return to the moon in five years It has one goal: the lunar south pole. The Apollo missions of the 60s and 70s landed around the equator of the moon, but the pole has something very special that these places do not have: ice, baby ice.
"We know that the South Pole region contains ice and can be rich in other resources based on our observations from orbit, but otherwise it is a completely unexplored world," NASA's Steven Clarke said in a statement. Monday.
While no one has moved around the pole, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has been surveying the area, so we have detailed maps of the region with which to work.
The scientists published an article in 2018 showing the Existence of superficial ice in the lunar poles., especially in the shady points of the south inside craters. These areas drop to a frigid of -414 degrees Fahrenheit (-248 degrees Celsius), cold enough to keep the water solidified as ice in cold storage.
The ability to draw water on the moon feeds on NASA's greatest ambitions to use the moon as a starting point to further explore the solar system with possible human missions to Mars.
NASA says that ice could potentially be used to "drink, cool equipment, breathe and make rocket fuel".
It is not just ice that makes the South Pole attractive. The areas near the Shackleton crater of the moon receive a lot of sunlight, which could be exploited by solar energy systems.
NASA was launched at full speed on a crew mission to the moon after a push from the Trump administration at the beginning of this year.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, appointed by Trump, accepted the challenge. And it will be a challenge. NASA originally looked at 2028 as a target date. The year 2024 is not far away and there is much to be done before the astronaut's boots touch the moon again. You may want to pack some ice skates.
Originally published at 9:07 a.m. PT.