NASA made yet another giant leap for mankind with its recent discovery of water on the moon. The space fairing organization announced the finding Monday in the Oct. 26 issue of Nature Astronomy, after one of its observatory’s, SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), detected water molecules on the moon’s surface.
“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, in the NASA website’s article on the discovery. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”
There are a few implications the finding permits NASA. One is there is something on the moon keeping the water there. The second is the possibility of being able to use the water as a resource, which may lessen the cost NASA of future expeditions to the moon and maybe even beyond. The third is how NASA might use the discovery to boast further experiments.
“Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers,” said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. “If we can use the resources at the Moon, then we can carry less water and more equipment to help enable new scientific discoveries.”
The announcement followed some political controversy as the GOP stated one of their priorities after the election would be the creation of a permanent manned presence on the moon. This took place 3 days before NASA’s announcement.
“Pres. Trump is fighting for YOU! Here are some of his priorities for a 2nd term: *Establish Permanent Manned Presence on The Moon *Send the 1st Manned Mission to Mars, *Build World’s Greatest Infrastructure System, *Establish National High-Speed Wireless Internet Network.”
The manned presence proclamation drew some ire, as the pandemic continues to affect many U.S. citizens, which many people on social media pointed out.
“According to @GOP, Trump’s top two priorities for a 2nd term involve THE MOON and MARS,” One user stated. “Not the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are dying from Covid-19, nor the millions who have lost their jobs or businesses due to the collapsed economy. Talk about misplaced priorities!!”
According to @GOP, Trump’s top two priorities for a 2nd term involve THE MOON and MARS. Not the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are dying from Covid-19, nor the millions who have lost their jobs or businesses due to the collapsed economy. Talk about misplaced priorities!! pic.twitter.com/P3oPaHadwD
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) October 23, 2020
Despite some of the negative reactions to the GOP’s statement, NASA’s discovery was universally praised by social media, with many celebrating the discovery through humor.
“NASA just announced that the Moon’s Clavius Crater hosts water ice making it a great place for a permanent Moonbase… the same crater explored in 2001: A Space Odyssey. If we find a Monolith next, I’m going to flip.”
NASA just announced that the Moon's Clavius Crater hosts water ice making it a great place for a permanent Moonbase… the same crater explored in 2001: A Space Odyssey. If we find a Monolith next, I'm going to flip. pic.twitter.com/k8MziGMiuw
— Cosmic Perspective (@considercosmos) October 26, 2020
Many of the jokes included references to the company Nestlé which is a huge Swiss-based business responsible for everything from baby food to water ownership, the latter causing the company many of its more recent controversies. The Colorado Sun even published an article talking about Nestlé’s plan to pump 200 gallons of groundwater a minute from Arkansas river water and turn it all into bottled water, despite claims of becoming more sustainable.
“Nestlé is saying it has promised to operate in more sustainable ways,” John McGowan, a Chaffee County homeowner said in regards to Nestlé, “but Nestlé found it has a dilemma with its North American waters business, which cannot fulfill these new environmental promises and achieve its profitability goals.”
This issue is one of many that Nestlé has encountered in the past regarding water, with many activist groups formed specifically to counter them. As both articles were published on the same day, there was some crossover including a full-length satirical article by the Hard Drive in which Nestlé launches a lawsuit over ownership of the moon water.
One of the ‘quotes from the article states, “Water is no different from any other consumer product, like candy or the air we breathe. The idea that the Moon should get it for free is ludicrous. What’s next, free medicine?” said the legal counsel in their initial statement. “Whatever ice may be trapped in the surface of that greedy white circle in the sky, it belongs in the safe hands of private enterprise.”
People on Twitter also joked about Nestlé’s reaction to Nasa’s announcement with many saying Nasa might build a rocket to harvest the moon water themselves, which they could do since the company is worth over 3 billion if not for other constraints, such as water on Earth seeming to be more profitable.
astronomers: there is water on the moon
Nestle Corporation: pic.twitter.com/GigCfvB0Lu
— Rhodo Undeadron (@Rrhododendron) October 26, 2020
BREAKING – Nestle prepares rocket after NASA's discovery of water on the surface of the Moon. pic.twitter.com/uX3ulDSzBX
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) October 26, 2020
Nestle when they heard about wet moon pic.twitter.com/KDoEX5diHQ
— SPECTRE OF COMMUNISM☭ (@Isleepintrash) October 26, 2020