Ok... enough with the finances and geopolitics. It's time to turn our attention to non-terrestrial geopolitics and economics...
So many people saw this story I have to talk about it and offer my usual high octane speculations. The story comes from RT, and concerns an unusual discovery which might indicate the presence of large amounts of subsurface water on...
Scientists, the story alleges, have recently tested little glass beads brought back from the Moon during the Apollo 15 and 17 missions, and have found tiny amounts of water embedded in the little beads:
Scientists who retested mineral samples collected during the Apollo moon missions now believe there’s a massive amount of water under the lunar surface – a discovery which may make manned missions to the moon easier than previously thought.
Researchers at Brown University in the US examined glass beads, a type of volcanic crystal gathered during the Apollo 15 and 17 missions in the 1970s, and found they contained similar volumes of water to Earth’s basalt rock.
The leaders of the study, which has been published in Nature Geoscience, cite the parallels as evidence that parts of the moon contain a similarly large amount of water. This, they believe, could be useful for future lunar missions as it means water could potentially be extracted rather than carried from home.
As the article also notes, Lunar ice has been found, sometimes at the bottom of craters, sometimes at the poles. With a more abundant source of water scattered across the lunar surface, permanent colonies become more feasible, and the article reminds us that the European Space Agency and the Chinese have teamed up to build a lunar 3D printed colony.
Ok... so where's all the high octane speculation here?
Well, I suspect that this story conceals more than it reveals. For example, the existence of water on the Moon, or rather, under its surface, and in possible significant amounts, has been known for some time. Both NASA and Russian pictures exist from the Cold War that show "clouds" emerging from various points on the lunar surface, which many scientists at the time believed were water, or water vapor, being ejected or outgassed, from beneath the lunar surface in geyser-like fashion. The phenomenon was not a one-off event, which means that long before this "Glass Bead Game" was played(sorry, I couldn't resist), the existence of Lunar water, in significant amounts, was known. The problem with that idea was of course that the Moon was not the geologically inactive gigantic-rock-in-space that many believed it to be. So what we're really being asked to believe is that this sort of analysis of the water in beads - as a confirming experiment to those pictures - was never done until now. And of course, I think that highly unlikely.
So, before I get to my high octane speculation of what may really be going on, I want readers to recall the "Newton-Asimov Lunar Difficulty," lots of early Cold War lunar probes that seemed to have difficulty hitting that very big target (or that alternatively went careening into it), weird utterances of von Braun to Time magazine just before he was "resigned" from NASA, statements by Soviet astronomers back in the "good old days" of the Cold War in English-language articles in Sputnik magazine about the Moon being a big spaceship, Apollo experiments that measured seismic activity in the Moon which "rang like a bell," more recent articles speculating on the possible existence on the Moon of large amounts of Helium-3 and all the wonderful possibilities of lunar mining, and so on.
In short, put yourself in "connect-the-dots" mode for a moment, and ask yourself what they might have really been looking for in that tiny amount of water contained in those tiny lunar Glass Beads. I rather suspect that they were looking carefully at the chemical composition of that water(which the article in fact states), but I suspect they were looking particularly at, or for, something else, namely, at the ratios of deuterium and tritium in it. In short, they were trying to determine if there was anything "isotopically unusual" about that water...
OK. You can call me crazy now.
See you on the flip side...