ኢትዮጵያዊ አሜሪካዊው የናሳ ተመራማሪ መሀንዲስ ብርሃኑ ቡልቻ በጨረቃ ላይ ያለውን ውሃ የመለየት ችግር መፍትሄ ለመፈለግ፣ ሰዎች እዚያ ቋሚ መሰረት እንዲኖራቸው ለማድረግ አቅዷል።
Ethiopian-American Nasa research engineer Berhanu Bulcha is aiming to find a solution to the problem of locating water on the moon, to help humans set up a permanent base there. Whether humans are on the Earth or elsewhere in the universe, that axiom remains the same.
Nasa’s Artemis 1 rocket was finally launched this week – the start of an ambitious space exploration programme that is designed to take humans back to the moon and beyond.
Addressing the issue of how to get hold of water beyond Earth is crucial. The lunar base being planned would be impossible without the precious liquid and Dr Berhanu is leading a team working on how it could be found on our planet’s only natural satellite.
Water can be transported from Earth but this is expensive and highly inefficient. Significantly lunar water could also be used to make rocket fuel, allowing the moon to be a platform for further space travel, which would bypass the need for the huge rockets required to overcome our planet’s gravitational pull.
Dr Berhanu and his team are developing a prototype light-weight compact spectrometer that could definitively identify where water reserves are on the moon. “It’s the million-dollar question,” he tells the BBC by phone from one of Nasa’s offices in the US.
Since getting to graduate school at the University of Virginia 12 years ago, Dr Berhanu has been focussing on developing space instruments that would solve problems for Nasa – and arguably the search for water is the biggest problem of all.
The presence of some water on the moon has already been confirmed. But the issue with most methods of detection is that they cannot tell the difference between water, which is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, and hydroxyl, another hydrogen-containing compound. Read the full report here.