NASA has an ambitious plan to return humans to the moon, and the target is the lunar South Pole.
CNET writes that the Apollo missions of the ’60s and the ’70s all have landed around the equator of the moon, but the pole reportedly has something extraordinary that those sites don’t: ice.
“We know the South Pole region contains ice and may be rich in other resources based on our observations from orbit, but, otherwise, it’s a completely unexplored world,” NASA’s Steven Clarke said in a statement Monday.
No one was around the pole, and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has been carefully analyzing the area, and this means that there are detailed maps of the region to work with.
Scientists have already published a paper back in 2018 which showed the existence of the surface ice at the lunar poles especially in the south spots inside the craters.
These areas get down to -414 degrees Fahrenheit (-248 Celsius), and this is chilly enough to keep water solidified as ice in cold storage, says CNET.
The moon could be used as a jumping place to Mars
One of NASA’s ambitions is to extract water on the moon and also to use the moon as a “jumping-off place to explore further into the solar system with eventual human missions to Mars,” according to CNET.
NASA says the ice could potentially be used for “drinking, cooling equipment, breathing and making rocket fuel.”
Moon’s South Pole is not just attractive due to the water, but also the areas near the moon’s Shackleton crater get enough sunlight, and this could be harvested by solar power systems, according to NASA.
For this mission, NASA seems to have eyed the year 2028 as a target date. The year 2024 is not far off, and there is a lot to be done before astronauts hop on the moon once again.
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