Hubble finds Oxygen on the Moon

Damn this is a good time to be alive! The O2 discovered isn't part of the Moon's atmosphere, it's locked up in the rocks of the moon itself.

Money quote:

"The Aristarchus plateau has long been of interest to geologists because of its volcanic vents, collapsed lava tubes called rilles, ejected volcanic material and recent impact craters. The Aristarchus crater, 26 miles wide and two miles deep, could be as young as 100 million years old and has a sharp rim and other fresh features that reveal the varied geology of the area, said Mark Robinson, a planetary geologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
The crater slices into the side of the plateau, exposing its interior layers and features.
The telescope's images showed a diversity of materials in the crater, including basalt, olivine, anorthosite and ilmenite. Researchers said ilmenite, a glassy mineral made up of titanium, iron and oxygen, was particularly interesting because it could be an oxygen source for visitors. Oxygen can be extracted by heating or chemical processes. High concentrations of ilmenite were found at the Aristarchus site, scientists said."

The possibility of a permanent presence of humanity on the Moon just got an awful lot more possible. O2 available on the moon creates the possibility of not just a permanent moon base, but also using the moon as a launching pad (one that doesn't have the problems of our gravity well, which makes the delta v calculations of weight etc. so onerous) to reach Mars, the solar system, and the stars.

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