ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — New research from a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor is helping NASA learn more about water at the moon’s north and south poles. Professor Gunther Kletetschka contributes to NASA’s Project Artemis, which involves a planned long-term human presence on the moon. His research shows that oxygen and hydrogen ions leave Earth’s atmosphere and fuse on the moon to create water and ice. This information is crucial because NASA plans to return humans to the Moon within ten years.
According to Kletetschka, where there is water, there can be life. More importantly, where there is water there is also hydrogen and oxygen, two important elements for providing fuel. Water and fuel are the first step to creating base camps on the moon. If an astronaut’s life system can be supported on the moon, it can also be supported by civilians. But, for Kletetscheka, this is only short term. He hopes that in the next few years base camps will be established on the moon so that we can be closer to other planets to explore.
“I see it as the first step towards colonization. Seems like it’s our destiny. We have created this brain in our heads and this brain allows us to think and try to find a way to use the space around us. This space means we don’t just have to stay on Earth,” Kletetschka said.
While Mars remains the end goal, NASA initially set its sights on exploring the moon’s surface with human and robotic explorers. In this way, they can learn to establish a community on a cosmic shore closer to home before doing so on other planets.
This research suggests that the moon’s north and south poles could contain a volume of water comparable to that of Lake Huron in North America, which is the eighth largest lake in the world.
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