Shortly after the mission data was analyzed,
scientists announced that the south pole of the Moon
contained pockets of water ice shielded from the Sun by
shadows cast from the walls of deep craters and by a
covering of insulating rocks and dust. This announcement
sparked a renewed interest in lunar colonization, because
the abundant water could be a source of hydrogen.
Establishing a base on the Moon has been the ultimate goal
of lunar exploration since the 1960s when the United States
put the first human beings there. For forty years, that goal
has been held in abeyance because of cost and scaling
problems. In order to provide a small band of explorers with
life support while they conduct their surveys on the
surface, the space vehicle would have to be enormous.
Just to construct a cargo transporter that can carry the
oxygen, food and water for an extended stay is beyond our
current technology. Blasting such loads into space would
mean building something ten times the size of the old Saturn
V system – a project too costly to contemplate even if it
was technically feasible.
When Clementine supposedly detected water ice on the Moon it
was thought that the solution to one of the major obstacles
to a moon base had been found. Water can be split into
oxygen and hydrogen by applying electricity, therefore solar
panels could be transported to the Moon and used to create
breathable air, potable water and fuel to power the
machinery. Also, some areas of the south pole might be in
permanent sunshine so a continuous energy source would be
available to crack the ice into its constituents and keep
the colony powered up.
team of researchers has questioned the accuracy of Clementine’s data and
suggested that the instruments may have seen reflections off the steep sidewalls
of deep craters and not the signature of ice deposits. Since the radar signature
came from both brightly illuminated and darkly shaded areas of Shackleton
crater, the reflection probably came from rocks and other debris rather than
ice. As Donald Campbell wrote in the science journal Nature:
"Any planning for future exploitation of hydrogen at the Moon's South Pole
should be constrained by this low average abundance rather than by the
expectation of localised deposits at higher concentrations."
Ice on the Moon could have come from cometary fragments over millions of years,
according to conventional theories. Comets and asteroids supposedly hit the Moon
by the million early in its history. The objects that formed Shackleton crater
and the rugged topography in the south left behind great loads of water vapor
that quickly condensed and precipitated on the cold walls of the craters after
the impacts. The frozen water vapor was protected from sublimation when the dust
thrown out by the explosions settled back to the surface, covering over the ice
and compressing it.
As we have written in
past Picture of the Day articles, the search for water on the Moon is most
likely a forlorn hope. The Moon does not present features caused by innumerable
strikes from high-velocity space rocks or thousands of comets out of a
hypothetical Oort Cloud. Rather, lunar structures and terrain are the result of
powerful electric discharges at some time in the relatively recent past.
Physicist and Electric Universe pioneer
Ralph Juergens wrote the following:
“Explaining a crater floor of bare, once-molten rock in terms of the
conventional impact theory is a little difficult. One must resort to ad-hoc
theorizing to the effect that something – perhaps the shock of the postulated
impact explosion – melted a considerable volume of rock at some depth, and that
following the explosion this material welled up to engulf the crater floor and
flow around obstructions encountered there; otherwise, debris from the explosion
itself could be expected to clutter the crater floor. Impact theory offers no
reason, however, to expect such a sequence of events, and nothing in terrestrial
experience with crater-producing explosions supports the idea.
“...Though an electric discharge might be thought of as taking place in a very
brief span of time, an interplanetary discharge must surely be an event of
greater duration than an impact explosion; the long- distance flow of current
would persist beyond the instant of any initial touchdown explosion, and ejecta
that chanced to fall back into the crater thus produced could be swept away or
melted in place.”
The morphology of the Moon – and the south pole in particular – is indicative of
the features Juergens described. No water-bearing impactors formed the terrain
there. Rather, it was electricity that carved the Moon and any water that might
have once existed was obliterated by the energy released in the event.