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Water on the Moon -- and Money for NASA | The Nation

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Water on the Moon -- and Money for NASA

"Water found on the moon," the headlines said – water that "could be used for drinking," the LA Times reported, possibly enough for "future astronauts to live off the land."

The "water" that was "found," however, consisted of 25 gallons. The average American uses about 80 gallons of water per day, according to the US Geological Survey. But most of that is for flushing the toilet and taking showers. If the astronauts used lunar "water" only for drinking, and if three astronauts each drank six eight-ounce glasses per day, they would drink the 25 gallons in about three weeks.

There would be a problem, however. NASA didn't find one big frozen puddle – their spectrometers identified dust that suggested water molecules were "likely to be mixed in with the soil." Getting the H2O out of the frozen soil would take energy and equipment. Maybe it would be easier for our people to bring their own water.

What explains the sudden discovery of "water" on the moon? Why is the chief scientist for NASA's "Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission" telling the media that "the moon is alive"?

Could it have anything to do with the the fact that Obama's commission on space travel recently questioned whether returning to the moon was "a worthy goal"? Could it be related to the commission's conclusion that Americans will not return to the moon anytime soon unless Congress spends a lot more money on the project -- at least $3 billion a year?

"These new discoveries could be game changers," the LA Times declared. That's true, if the game in question is taxpayer dollars spent on NASA space travel.

A modest proposal: forget about sending people to the moon to drink the water there, and instead spend the $3 billion a year on improving the drinking water here on earth.

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