Asteroid Discovery Could Lead To Intersteller Pit Stops

Posted by on May 4th, 2010


Not going to lie to you folks, space is big. Like really big.

To get from one point to another you’re going to need more than just a full tank of gas and a Snapple pinched between your thighs because someone decided to use the cup holders for loose change and a half-drank, week-old Coke bottle.

Luckily, the recent discovery that some asteriods contain water compounds could mean the components of the water ice could be broken down and reassembled into rocket fuel.

“Water is the main component in how you might make propellants,” said Jerry Sanders, leader of in-situ resource utilization at NASA’s Lunar Surface Systems Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “If you’re going to go repeatedly to an asteroid, then the ability to basically start setting up gas stations could be extremely beneficial.”

Researchers announced last week that they had found definitive proof of frozen water, along with organic compounds, coating the surface of the large asteroid 24 Themis in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Previously, scientists had believed that asteroids there were too close to the sun to harbor water without it evaporating away.

Could be a big boon for longer voyages. No word yet on how hydrogen and oxygen could be reassembled to create Slim Jims.


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