ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – New research led by a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor is helping NASA learn more about water at the moon’s north and south poles. Professor Gunther Kletetschka is contributing to NASA’s Artemis Project, which involves a planned long-term human presence on the moon. His research shows that oxygen and hydrogen ions are leaving earths atmosphere and merging on the moon to create water and ice. This information is crucial as NASA plans to send humans back to the moon within ten years.
According to Kletetschka, where there’s water there can be life. More importantly, where there’s water there’s also hydrogen and oxygen, two elements that are important for providing fuel. Water and fuel are the first step for creating base camps on the moon. If an astronaut’s life system can be supported on the moon, then down the road it can also be supported for civilians. But, for Kletetscheka, that’s only the short term. He hopes that within the next few years, base camps will be made on the moon so that we may be closer to other planets to explore.
“I’m seeing it as the first step to the colonization. It looks like it’s our destiny. We created this brain in our heads and that brain allows us to do thinking and try to figure out a way to utilize the space around us. That space means we don’t only have to only stay on Earth,” Kletetschka said.
While mars remains the end goal, NASA has set their sights first on exploring the surface of the moon with human and robotic explorers. This way they can learn how to establish community on a cosmic shore closer to home before doing so on other planets.
This research suggests the moon’s north and south poles could hold a volume of water comparable to North America’s Lake Huron, which is the world’s eighth-largest lake.
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