Hydrogen on the Moon

The sci-fi vision of a moon colony just got a little bit closer to earth. The Los Angeles Times reports that NASA's lunar satellite—the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has just begun its four-year mission—has discovered large amounts of hydrogen in permanently shadowed south pole craters, which could mean water is buried underground. The form this hydrogen takes, whether it is water in the form of ice, is not yet known, although on the morning of October 9, a satellite that separated from the recon center just after launch will send a Centaur rocket crashing into the crater called Cabeus A, in hopes of sending up a cloud of dust and ice particles that the satellite and orbiter can sense. NASA launched the orbiter three months ago in order to produce a detailed map of the moon, with a special eye to finding water and thus potential sites for future human colonists.