On the Moon Crater Holds Pond of Ice; Discovery Means Humans Could Survive There

Article excerpt

The moon, long thought to be bone dry, has a pond of ice hidden deep inside a crater, scientists disclosed Monday.

The discovery came from the Clementine spacecraft, which used radar signals to examine the depths of the moon's deep craters. The scientists said the discovery increases the chances that humans may someday live on the moon's surface.

Pentagon officials, who co-sponsored the project with NASA, planned an announcement of the findings at a news conference today. The ice was found in a huge crater deep in the south pole of the moon, said Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. He said a panel of scientists had concluded that the ice was frozen water. "It is an extremely significant discovery," said Anthony Cook, astronomical observer at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. He added that water would make exploration easier. "With water there you could have enclosed areas to grow plants, grow your own food, make your own fuel, make your own air," Cook said. "You don't have to launch all that stuff from big rockets on the Earth." Lehner said the water could be used for drinking, turned into breathable oxygen and transformed into fuel, allowing humans to explore the moon, colonize it or use it as a launching pad to explore other planets. "You can use the moon as a gas station," he said. …