"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Monday, August 22, 2005
(New Scientist Space) Planetary scientists are using the Hubble Space Telescope to scout out sites for potential human bases on the Moon...
"We're trying to ascertain the potential of ultraviolet spectra for indicating lunar resources," says Bruce Hapke, a planetary scientist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, US. He is one of a team of six researchers led by NASA's chief scientist, Jim Garvin, using Hubble to view the Moon.
Scientists are scanning the lunar surface in order to find an iron titanium oxide called ilmenite which may be useful in constructing moon bases. Finding an abundant supply of ilmenite would tremendously help reduce the cost of establishing colonies on the moon and perhaps encourage tourism towards the lunar body as well.
(New Scientist Space) Ilmenite was found in different concentrations in the several areas visited by the Apollo astronauts more than three decades ago. Hubble observed two of these sites - where Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 astronauts touched down in 1971 and 1972, respectively - as part of an observing run that finished on Sunday.
A third spot was also sited in the Aristarchus crater which is over 40 km wide and is located near the moons equator. Aristarchus may become more valuable in the future as craters often reveal what "lies beneath" and could hold large amounts of ilmenite within the ejecta (debris from impact).
President Bush's vision for mankind revisiting space is quickly becoming a reality thanks largely in part to the Space Tourism private sector. The moon is proving to be an ideal spot for colonies (with other worlds such as Mars being harsher and farther away) to thrive upon and it may not be long until Earthlings view cities upon their lunar neighbor.
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