NASA’s recent discovery of water on the moon has raised a lot of questions about the moon’s potential as a habitable location. Humans rely on water to survive, so any space worth occupying requires (at the very least) a viable and sustainable water supply, as well as the ability to provide food.
NASA is already tackling the issue of food supply in space, with the Veggie space garden and other high-tech machines able to grow crops sustainably within the International Space Station.
Water is the next frontier.
With new research indicating water molecules are present on the moon even with the presence of sunlight, the hunt for a viable water source on the moon has become much more exciting. Previously, it was believed water could not survive in sunlit areas, but the recent discovery has proved this theory wrong. It’s also raised the possibility that larger bodies of water may exist on the moon, frozen in polar craters. The greater the abundance of water, the more likely the moon is to be hospitable to human life.
Is moon water drinkable?
But the existence of this ‘moon water’ also raises a very important question: can we actually drink it?
According to UNSW Researcher Dr Ben Montet, we can actually drink the moon water, but we’ll need an excellent filtration system for it first. In an email to Gizmodo Australia, he explained the following:
“The water is chemically the same H2O as water on Earth, so if you can isolate it from the rock it’s mixed up in you will be able to drink it without issue. The isolation step is the tricky one, though! The density of water in the rock is very low.
In a cubic metre of lunar soil, there’s approximately the equivalent of one soda can of water mixed in. Put another way, the soil in your back garden is about 20% water; the soil in your lunar garden is 0.02% water, one thousand times drier.
Teasing that water out of that soil will be a challenge, both technologically and financially, but ignoring those issues, if you have enough cubic meters of lunar soil, you can get a few aluminum cans of perfectly drinkable water out.”
So, there you have it.
While moon water appears to be an exotic new find, it still shares the same chemical properties as water found on Earth. With a dedicated filtration or separation system, the lunar soil can be removed from the water for a lovely, thirst-quenching sip.
We could all be drinking moon water in the years to come.