Tomorrow, on my clock here in Louisiana NASA will slam a school bus sized part of a space craft into the Cabeus crater on the Moon’s South Pole. A second shepherding spacecraft equipped with many sensors and transmitters will navigate through the particles, gasses and vapors and whatever may have been thrown up by the impactor. The principal purpose of this exercise is to prospect for water.
If the impact reveals an ample near ice cap in the shadows and just below the surface then many other factors will suggest to many people and companies that the Moon can become a hub for a space industry. If there is water rich subsoil that does not amount to the large quantities in an icy pole but is nontheless significant it means outposts and colonies on the Moon can be started with great care and skill and hoping for the best according to optimistic space boosters. If there is very little water then developing the Moon in any way will be a very costly and daunting task by most definitions and analyses of the situation. Of course the spot could be an anomaly and not represent much that is typical of anything but almost everyone will presume that this is not true.
The LCROSS will be a vital step in coming to know what the resources on the Moon are and how they are distributed. We know there is abundant water ice on the Martian poles. We know there is water in many other places in the solar system. However if it does not exist on the Moon it will be much harder for us to develop a real space policy than if it does not have water in greater than the small amounts we have already detected across most of the surface of the Moon.
The more water we find the more chance there is also for me to see the Crater Cap Colony Concept I have pushed for come to some kind of fruition in my lifetime. It will not cause anything to happen but will certainly help if LCROSS kicks up lots of water. For some basic data on the LCROSS as it has been intended from the start go to:
This will interact with my own colonial ideas in complicated ways. But a water train shuttle or pipeline from the poles to feed the colonies would certainly be a vastly superior goal than hauling the water in from the Earth.
We may hit dry spots that are not typical or there may be malfunctions we do not detect. However, it would be great to find a great deal of ice and water. That is what I will be hoping until the report comes in to us all.