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No ice inside permanently shadowed crater near Moon’s south pole?

Marvin crater as seen by Shadowcam
Click for original image.

Overview map

Using a camera on South Korea’s lunar orbiter Danuri, dubbed Shadowcam and designed to look into the permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles, scientists have taken an image that sees into the forever dark region of one such crater.

The picture to the right, released on March 13, 2023 by the Shadowcam science team, is of the crater Marvin, located about 16 miles to the east of the south pole. The pink outline indicates the area that is thought to be permanently shadowed.

The second image to the right provides a wider view of the south pole region, with the craters labeled and outlined by the green lines. The orange lines mark permanently shadowed areas. The white box indicates the approximate area covered by the Shadowcam picture. One of the candidate landing sites for Starship, as part of NASA’s Artemis program, is the eastern rim of Shackleton, essentially at the south pole itself.

Previous data suggests that ice should be found in those permanently shadowed areas, because other orbiters have detected evidence of hydrogen there. The Shadowcam picture above however shows nothing that strongly suggests the presence of ice, unless that darker flat area on the floor of the crater is ice-infused dust. If so however, it is quite ancient and solid, based on the presence of several craters within it.

The press release makes no mention of this question, probably because the scientists are still analyzing the data. This first look however suggests the ice is not there, or is in a form that is going to require a lot of processing to extract the water from it.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • Ray Van Dune

    The article down below a couple also says asteroid Dimorphos is dry. Not a good trend, folks. We need to find water in space to make rocket fuel. Mars is pretty far away, and the surface of Earth is in a huge gravity well that makes you use most of the fuel to the the rest out!

    How’s that nuclear rocket coming?

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