How Silicon Valley Helped Find Water on the Moon

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    NASA told the world Friday from their seat in Silicon Valley  that there is plenty of water on the moon -- at least near its south pole.

    "Indeed, yes, we found water." said Anthony Colaprete, a principal project investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center. "And we didn't find just a little bit, we found a significant amount."

    Colaprete estimated the impact kicked up at least 25 gallons of water. Significant water would make it easier to set up a base camp for astronauts.

    The discovery came from an analysis of data from The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite -- a spacecraft NASA intentionally crashed into the lunar south pole on Oct. 9.

    Scientists at NASA Ames Research Center managed the development of the mission and is spearheading the data analysis.

    NASA's Ames Research Center is in the heart of Silicon Valley -- a prime location to benefit from some of the world's leaders in technology. The center partners with high-tech companies, universities and labs in the region to help turn the fantasy of space exploration into reality.

    The researchers work with the geniuses at Google on IT and mapping technologies and Google is building a million square foot complex at the Ames facility, NASA spokesman Jonas Dino said. The scientisits also partner with Cisco, IBM, Intel and SGI on computer and networking projects. And iPhone addicts have NASA Ames to thank for the development of some of the early apps, according to Dino.

    Education and public outreach are top priorities for the NASA team. Ames collaborates with the bright minds at Stanford, San Jose State, Santa Clara University, UC Santa Cruz and Foothill DeAnza College as part of their ongoing effort to keep moving toward into the future.


    Previous spacecraft have detected the presence of hydrogen in lunar craters near the poles. In September, scientists reported finding tiny amounts of water mixed into the lunar soil all over the lunar surface.

    The mission actually involved two moon shots. First, an empty rocket hull slammed into Cabeus crater. The shepherding spacecraft recorded the drama live before it also crashed into the same spot minutes later.

    All eyes were on the sky during the mission but on broadcasts of the event, it was impossible to discern any evidence of an explosion deep inside the crater, and no plume emerged immediately following the event.

    NASA spent $79 million on the experiment.