I know not everyone would get excited about something like this but a couple of days ago when I read these words my heart leapt:
Water is regarded as a key ingredient for life - and water exists plenty in the universe. Now scientists have found the precious element in a disk around a young star, similar to our Sun. This disk, supposedly the birth place for future planets, contains a hundred times more water than all oceans on Earth.
Why we live on a planet with liquid water, and so much of it, has long been a mystery to science but now satellites and new instruments have allowed astronomers to look more deeply into space and see what's out there with much greater precision. The water is likely located in a hot layer just above the disk midplane, where most of the available oxygen is driven into water by chemical reactions and most of it enters the disk in the form of ice around dust grains from the cold collapsing cloud.
Knowing that there's water on other planets and moons is a very exciting discovery even though it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. After all, we're mostly water and the rest of us is stardust. Sorry, I got carried away for a moment. What I mean is that it almost seems as though we're being tempted to go out there and look around.
Just yesterday I read an article on the BBC news that water-ice (lots of it) has been found in the regolith of the moon's north pole. The craters with ice range from one to nine miles in diameter and according to NASA may contain 600 million metric tonnes of water-ice held within these impact craters. To those of us not really familiar with the metric system that's 1,322,773,573,109 lb and 4.32 oz - or one trillion, three hundred and twenty-two billion, seven hundred and seventy-three million, five hundred and seventy-three thousand and one hundred and nine pounds and a small glass full. Even the national debt hasn't got to that point yet. Ooops, sorry, yes it has.
Oh I'm sure it wouldn't be all that simple to get at - no glistening, pellucid moon pools surrounded by moon fairies and unicorns waiting for us but we're clever creatures and I think we do better when we plan big projects. Yes, Earth has to be saved. Yes, people are hungry. Yes, we don't have a good record of treating other places well when we get there but we're a long way off finding a place like Pandora. Maybe we're learning, after all. Maybe by the time we do find a world with water and a climate suitable for our species we'll be better people. After all, we're learning every day and I once read somewhere that the universe expands with our ability to see.
If we do nothing but stick around here we'll keep killing each other and the planet. We need to grow up and there's nothing like travel for broadening the mind.