The article ends by saying our belief of water on the moon has improved from "one part per billion" in 2006, to "one part per million" today, like it's a huge revolutionary improvement. I know it's 1000x, but its still just one part per million. So it takes a million gallons of moon rocks to extract one gallon of water?
Which makes me wonder what the water ppm of Earth is.
Note the date.
My point was that there was far more cooperation going on in the space exploration area, despite of the Cold War.
If you ever have a chance to talk to an astronaut or cosmonaut, don't pass it up. They are all incredibly brilliant people.
Of course, a sample taken from the Earth's surface would provide a widely different result (ranging ~0% to ~100%) depending on where it was taken.
Did you mean to say 1 part/750K and 1 part/1M ?
75% of the Earth is covered with water.
In any case, my numbers probably too low. I didn't consider regions covered in ice. ;-)
And I doubt we'll be digging deeper than 10 feet on the Moon anytime soon.
That makes no sense. Actually BECAUSE of the cold war Americans should have studies Russian scientific results more at the time, even to the point of spying on them, not just reading published journals --after all you don't want the "enemy" to have an advantage over you.
If we believe the Russian data then they found one part per thousand. By mass. So a gallon of water would only require you to process three hundred gallons of rock. And the "processing" isn't that difficult: heat it up and collect the vapor.
Besides, even if it is parts per million, that ain't bad. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-pit_mining gold can be economically mined at a couple of ppm, while copper and nickel are mined at parts per thousand.
(Chomsky and all the compiler people got their funding from there)
It's an interesting problem. The sample container will have to hold the external pressure out and, depending on the container temperature, deal with condensation around the seal.
The first country to start using it is going to cause an uproar.
I still doubt that a war would end up happening over it, if only because it appears relatively cheap enough to extract that it's not worth the effort and risk to build a war-making apparatus to prevent other people from extracting it.
They found a bit of water essentially just by drilling down. If it's like that all over the moon, or even over an appreciable fraction of the moon, then getting it all for yourself is an unmanageably huge task.
Remember, the moon, while considerably smaller than the Earth, is still a very big place.