Just imagine. A nuclear reactor, an electrolyses plant and we’ve got fuel folks. Lots of it.

Yes, LCROSS, the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite was responsible for not only the worst meme of the year (we were so not bombing the moon people!) but it has also turned up much more useful and exciting data. In a press conference today NASA scientists announced that results recorded during the LRCOSS impact experiment pointed to a “significant amount” of water on the moon in the Cabeus crater.

Isn’t that exciting? I thought so too. Read all about it here:

LCROSS Preliminary Water Results

So what does that mean? Well water is important. It’s not only the fact that all life (at least on earth) needs water to survive, but also what we could use it’s constituent components for, in some cases while we create water for human consumption.

Look at the Shuttle as an example. The Main Engines (those 3 big ones) use Hydrogen and Oxygen to generate thrust. It’s a mighty feisty reaction but it works very well because Hydrogen andOxygen are very reactive, but at opposite ends of the scale and love to react with each other. That reactivity also lends itself to another use on the shuttle – hydrogen fuel cells. These generate electricity for the many systems on the shuttle during it’s missions. They take in Hydrogen and Oxygen and use the reaction to generate power. NASA has been using them since the mid 1960s but they’ve always taken fuel onboard with them to keep these systems going. not only that but onboard the Shuttle Orbiter, Fuel Cells make 25 lbs of pure, clean water per hour to supply the crew.

Imagine then if we could build a semi-portable plan on the moon to process water ice into fuel for these types of systems on future space craft. Inter-planetary filling station anyone? It’s possible, we have the technology, and we could make it work in space. What’s more, if it works well on the moon we could go beyond that and setup on Mars, or anywhere else we find water ice. Truly exciting future technology.