Wouldn't it be wonderful if astronauts could drink water from the moon? It is true that there is no water in a liquid state. But theoretically there is ice. Of course, it would be much better to check it out. For this, NASA has developed a CubeSat. These are nanosatellites with standard dimensions, which are formed in units of 10 x 10 x 10 cm. This will have six units. With special lasers you will soon be looking for ice on the moon. The ship is called a flashlight. You will use infrared to illuminate the shaded polar regions of the moon. A built-in reflectometer measures the reflection and composition of the surface.
It is the size of a briefcase. This laser flashlight aims to capture the surface ice that is naturally on the bottom of the lunar craters. You have never seen sunlight.
Drinking water from the moon
“We have a pretty good idea that ice is in the coldest and darkest craters on the moon. However, the previous measurements were somewhat ambiguous, "said Barbara Cohen. She is the lead researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center mission." If we want to send astronauts there to dig up and drink the ice, we need to make sure it exists . "
Various technological innovations are to be achieved with this project. Including the first search for water ice with lasers. It will be the first planetary spacecraft to use a "green" engine. It is a new type of fuel that is safer to transport and store than hydrazine. It is the propeller for the commonly used spaceship.
Serpa a two-month mission. The lantern will race across the South Pole. It will shine its lasers in permanently shaded regions looking for ice on the moon. These dark craters are believed to be "cold traps" that collect molecules from different types of ice. Including water ice. The molecules would come from comets and asteroid material that act on the lunar surface. Also from the interactions of the solar wind with the moon floor.
How to recognize ice
When lasers collide with bare rock while glowing in the permanently shaded regions of the South Pole, their light is reflected by the spaceship. This indicates a lack of ice. However, if light is absorbed, it would mean that these dark pockets contain ice. The greater the absorption, the more ice there can be on the surface.
The moon lantern tries to fill a critical gap in our understanding of how much water ice these regions have. “We will be able to compare the data from the lunar lantern with the excellent data we already have from other missions in lunar orbit. We will see if there are correlations in the water ice signatures. It gives us an overview of the distribution of ice on the surface, " Cohen added in a statement.