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Friday, October 21, 2005
(Earth Times) NASA's Hubble Telescope, which has so far beamed a number of spectacular images from the universe to Earth, has provided scientists with the tool to study the moon to prepare for the manned lunar mission of 2018. In August, the telescope snapped photographs that will help astronomers search for minerals containing oxygen on the moon.
It seems that Hubble has perhaps found its place in the space colonization race. Finding oxygen minerals upon the lunar world will enable future colonies to become more independent of Earthen assistance and allow colonists to concentrate on other tasks such as growing plants on the lunar surface or even melting moon dust into solar panels.
(Earth Times) Oxygen obtained from these will be mined by astronauts and used for breathing and for powering rockets. "These observations of the moon have been a challenging and highly successful technological achievement for NASA and the Hubble team, since the telescope was not originally designed for lunar observations. The images will inform both scientific studies of lunar geology and future decisions on further lunar exploration," said Jennifer Wiseman, program scientist for Hubble Telescope at NASA.
Scientists are looking for an element called ilmenite which is composed of iron oxide and titanium (another useful resource). Astronomers have found ilmenite in abundance in the Aristarchus crater which is approximately 26 miles wide and two miles deep.
As Hubble discovers more locations, establishing a colony on the moon will become more attractive not only as a scientific research outpost, but hopefully as a tourist destination as well (that is if prices become more reasonable).
Image Credit: Aristarchus Crater, image from Wikipedia.
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