Water is the elixir of life, one of my favorite nutrients here on earth. But what if it's also out there in the universe? Curiosity demands that we at least look.
So, last week we bombed the moon looking for water. Actually, NASA crashed two spacecraft into a crater on the lunar surface in that effort.
Basically the point was to stir up the surface to see if there was ice of the H2O variety. We've found water ice on Mars, by golly, and so there might just be some frozen stuff closer to home.
Next time I suggest they stop by my house for some chunks of the real deal and send it to the moon along with the probes. Nothing better than priming the pump.
The story also encourages us to develop an appreciation for the resilient mental health of astronomers. When some
Reportedly, "the mood was good." Yes, missing a man-made astronomical event is a common cause of depression -- at least for vulnerable non-astronomers.
Still, you do have to wonder about scientists. One science website reports, "Not too much is known about this crater, which is part of the reason it was selected."
I've used that principle myself to find things. When I lose my keys, I'm likely to find them at one of my neighbors' houses because I don't know too much about where they usually set down their own keys.
The scientifically curious among us are hoping NASA was looking to detect more than regular frozen water. They should be looking for Ice-nine in their forthcoming analysis of the experiment.
Ice-nine is the form of water, rather loosely based on reality, presented as a plot device in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle. NASA should remember the adage that you won't find what you don't look for.
If there is some, then we should go back some time and get it. If Vonnegut was right about this bizarre ice, a tiny bit could be put into one ocean and cause them all to freeze over. Poof, no more global warming.
Science marches on relentlessly. I bet you're glad you're investing tax dollars for the courageous effort to find dihydrogen oxide in the solar system. Besides, science needs a stimulus package, too.