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Old 07-10-2008, 08:03 PM   #1
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Moon Water

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Though the moon has many seas, scientists thought it was dry.
They were wrong.
In a study published today in Nature, researchers led by Brown University geologist Alberto Saal found evidence of water molecules in pebbles retrieved by NASA's Apollo missions.
The findings point to the existence of water deep beneath the moon's surface, transforming scientific understanding of our nearest neighbor's formation and, perhaps, our own. There may also be a more immediately practical application.
"Is there water there? That's important for lunar missions. People could get the water. They could use the hydrogen for energy," said Saal.
The pebbles were scattered by lunar volcanoes that erupted three billion years ago, when the moon was still a cooling hunk of magma cast into orbit by the collision of a Mars-sized asteroid with Earth.
That impact enveloped the Earth in temperatures reaching 7000 Kelvin -- more than enough, it was thought, to obliterate all traces of hydrogen and oxygen.
Though NASA's Lunar Prospector appeared to have struck ice in 1999, its findings proved inconclusive. Had they been supported, scientists predicted that any water would have come from gases emitted by meteorites striking the moon.
With so little reason to believe in native lunar water, said Saal, it took three years to secure the minimal funding necessary to take another look at the Apollo pebbles, gathered between 1969 and 1972.
But a high-powered imaging technique known as secondary ion mass spectrometry revealed a wealth of so-called volatile compounds, among them fluorine, chlorine, sulfur, carbon dioxide -- and water.
Critically, telltale hydrogen molecules were concentrated at the center of samples rather than their surfaces, assuring Saal's team that water was present in an infant moon rather than added by recent bombardment.
"That was not known," said William Feldman, a Los Alamos National Laboratory geophysicist who was not involved in the study.
If that water in fact came from the Earth, then planetary geologists can be certain that our planet contained water 4.5 billion years ago. That would change the dynamics of models of Earth's formations.
"Volatile elements play a fundamental role in planetary formation through their influence on melting," said Feldman. "Melting temperatures are lower, you get different kinds of volcanic flows and magma crystallization. It's important for a lot of the processes that determine surface mineralogy."
Alternatively, water could have been added after the moon was ejected into space but before it cooled, raising new questions about the water's origin.
"This opens up so many lines of study," said Saal.
More practically, the widespread presence of water in the moon's interior, or atop frigid polar regions where volcanic debris may have settled, could prove a boon to future lunar colonies, who could harvest it for breathable oxygen and hydrogen fuel.
Whether that is possible depends on the water's extent and concentration. This is not now known.
Materials collected by the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, which will scour the moon's south pole later this year, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, scheduled for launch in 2009, should provide further insight.
"Could a colony use the water? That's like asking the final score of a football game in the first five minutes of the first quarter," said Saal. "But at least we know there's a game on."
Water Found on the Moon | Wired Science from Wired.com

Not quite as harsh a mistress as once supposed.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:17 PM   #2
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makes sense

since they think water arrived on earth from space
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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makes sense

since they think water arrived on earth from space
and it makes since

because they think water arrived on earth from a creator

why wouldn't he put a little on the moon, too
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:56 AM   #4
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I am more interested in the water ice found on Mars.

Though this is cool in and of itself, I can't say I'm surprised.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:03 AM   #5
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Water Ice on Mercury
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:15 AM   #6
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Given the apparent abundance of water ice in this solar system it will be very interesting to see how much there is outside, life in the universe may be more common than we believe.
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Old 07-12-2008, 01:03 AM   #7
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life in the universe may be more common than we believe.
and you know they're just sitting back and pondering over our ingorance, or just laughing at us.. waiting for us to catch up to some degree.
I would be.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:48 PM   #8
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and you know they're just sitting back and pondering over our ingorance, or just laughing at us.. waiting for us to catch up to some degree.
I would be.
Why do you suppose it is that we often assume that if there is life elsewhere in the universe it's smarter and more advanced than we are? And that they know about us?
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:12 AM   #9
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The odds

400 Billion Stars

100 Billion Observable Galaxies

and those are just best guesses, which are largely based only on what little we know from our pespective on this tiny little world. If anything they are too small.

If we can find a fossil of microbial life on Mars (which we probably will) one planet away, then we have had life on 2 planets orbiting one star.

We can assume with confidence an abundance of life. I already do.

From there we can assume the possibilty that they were able to advance because an asteroid or plague (whatever) didn't wipe out their hospitable planet like it did to ours. Causing us to start over again. So they would be ahead of the curve. Great odds.

Some (of the advanced) would never know about us, maybe even nearly all of them because of limitations of travel (among other factors) but odds on, some do.
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #10
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The odds

400 Billion Stars

100 Billion Observable Galaxies

and those are just best guesses, which are largely based only on what little we know from our pespective on this tiny little world. If anything they are too small.

If we can find a fossil of microbial life on Mars (which we probably will) one planet away, then we have had life on 2 planets orbiting one star.

We can assume with confidence an abundance of life. I already do.

From there we can assume the possibilty that they were able to advance because an asteroid or plague (whatever) didn't wipe out their hospitable planet like it did to ours. Causing us to start over again. So they would be ahead of the curve. Great odds.

Some (of the advanced) would never know about us, maybe even nearly all of them because of limitations of travel (among other factors) but odds on, some do.
Interesting response...thank you!

Full Disclosure: I was really playing devil's advocate there because as a Christian I have my own ideas about life outside of this planet, but I was just wondering how other people--especially those that don't have a supernatural viewpoint and thus maybe are less likely to see humanity as the "center" of what's going on in the universe--drew their conclusions about extraterrestrial life.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:09 PM   #11
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The Earth has had life for over 3.5 billion years, in those stretches of time it wasn't until some 12,000 years ago that civilization occured, given the vast majority of species on this planet do well without intelligence I don't think that we can make a case that intelligent life is common, the assertion is quite unconstrained.

Let me put it this way, I have no belief in little green men.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:56 PM   #12
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I could be considered a supernatural believer of sorts because I believe in the possibility of extraterrestrials.

I don't think that having a universe of advanced species means there is an inherent conflict with God or faith in general, I just think it quite clearly reveals the man-made dogmas that were designed to keep societies in line for thousands of years were just that, made up.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:13 PM   #13
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Let me put it this way, I have no belief in little green men.
That's because you know they are Grey.

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Old 07-13-2008, 09:50 PM   #14
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I could be considered a supernatural believer of sorts because I believe in the possibility of extraterrestrials.

I don't think that having a universe of advanced species means there is an inherent conflict with God or faith in general, I just think it quite clearly reveals the man-made dogmas that were designed to keep societies in line for thousands of years were just that, made up.
But an extraterrestrial intelligence would almost certainly be an evolved intelligence or one created by an evolved intelligence (e.g. sentient robots). Aliens are a natural not supernatural subject.
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:58 AM   #15
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Aliens are a natural not supernatural subject.
Yes, you are right.

You say and have said before that you are resistant to the idea of little green men but what if they were a similar species to us? Humanoids or homo erectus evolved (whatever). And that they had progressed similarly as we have. Only instead of the Yucatan asteroid (Chicxulub?) or other ELE events that came along and set us back X number of years, this didn't happen to these other folk. And they consequently were thousands (if not millions) of years ahead of us.

Are you resistant to the idea that they would have unified a 'theory of everything' and challenged near the speed of light, maybe even bending space/time by creating wormholes (whatever idea or ideas sound good to you) but bottom line being able to reach across multiple galaxies?

All of this seems a fairly natural idea. It doesn't violate the known laws.

Is it just lack of evidence in the first place?
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:23 AM   #16
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But we shared common ancestry with other hominids, they are our cousins and not completely independently evolved organisms. The prerequisites for evolving intelligence in that environment existed. We lived in similar environments and fill the same ecological niche. In all of vertebrate evolution intelligence has been the exception and not the rule, and thats besides the other major phylum's such as the molluscs (now cephalopods show high degrees of intelligence but there's no reason to suppose that there will be exceptionally intelligent squid in the next few tens of millions of years. Organisms must be adapted to their environment or go extinct, intelligence is not a trump card for survival.

I am resistant to the idea that life is predestined towards intelligence, that there is an innate force trending life towards sentience, that strikes me like the guiding hand of God. The evidence doesn't support that contention of inevitable intelligence on Earth and there's no reason to expect the mechanical process of evolution to act differently on another planet. Thats not to say it is impossible, only that it can't be assumed.

The step of evolving from prokaryotes to eukaryotes is a more critical step for life on Earth than human intelligence in, and the evolution of animal life another one. These are major changes in the mode of life on Earth and the preconditions and chances of these events taking place are very poorly constrained.

We don't have the evidence to support abundant intelligent life or no intelligent life, there's a lot of space in between that needs to be found out.
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Old 07-14-2008, 04:53 AM   #17
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Only instead of the Yucatan asteroid (Chicxulub?) or other ELE events that came along and set us back X number of years, this didn't happen to these other folk. And they consequently were thousands (if not millions) of years ahead of us.
Why did it set us back. The asteroid impacted long before the first intelligent ancestor of humans came into existence. Also, if the hypothesis holds true it was responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs and other giant predators. Wouldn't that have rather helped humanity to progress than hindered in that it would have been pretty difficult to set up settlements with such huge animals in the neighbourhood?

Dinosaurs wouldn't have developed much further in terms of intelligence, and unless there isn't being discovered any sentient, intelligent animal stemming from that time I guess there hasn't been any prior to humanity and their direct ancestors.

Or would you say that even without the asteroid the dinosaurs would have went extinct and humanity would have developed earlier?

Ok, maybe the dinosaurs would have settled.

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Old 07-14-2008, 07:10 AM   #18
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Dinosaurs wouldn't have developed much further in terms of intelligence, and unless there isn't being discovered any sentient, intelligent animal stemming from that time I guess there hasn't been any prior to humanity and their direct ancestors.
I don't think this is correct, dinosaurs are smart today (since birds are a clade of dinosaur) and there's no reason to think that it wouldn't have been possible for high levels of social intelligence to have evolved in an alternative timeline.

I just want to convey that intelligence can be advantageous in a social animal and if there is a positive feedback mechanism that perpetuates adaptions for intelligence by yielding reproductive benefits in the environment there's no reason not to see an intelligent animal evolve.

But it depends on that trait being reproductively advantageous at that point in time in that particular environment.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:20 AM   #19
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You mean it could have been possible that dinosaurs would have developed to a state similar to that of humans where they cooperate, build structures and settle.

Taking the example of crows it's right that they are extremely intelligent and find incredible ways to utilize about anything for gaining food (like the crow that drops nuts onto the streets, waits for cars to crack it and when the traffic lights turn red it eats the nut).

Nevertheless, I'm not sure that we "lost" some time for progress, at least from the perspective of human development.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:41 AM   #20
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I think that culture isn't out of the question, and if the conditions were right the idea of a self-conscious social dinosaur with the capacity for communication doesn't seem out of the question, Dougal Dixon has covered some of these alternative lineages.
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