NASA announced yesterday that the recent LCROSS satellite mission detected significant quantities of ice water on the Moon. To me, this could possibly be the most important discovery of 2009. In spite of everything else, if human beings don't destroy themselves they will go into space. Given long enough, the Moon will be settled. We simply cannot Be otherwise. It is our nature to explore and conquer.
I was surprised to learn, however, this was not the first time NASA has announced the presence of water on the Moon. That happened several weeks ago regarding a report on the mission of India's satellite Chandrayaan-1. So, the space program in India should really get more credit. But, of course, the LCROSS mission is an American endeavor.
At any rate, water is the basis for life as we know it. Without water there is no biological possibility. With it there is vast biological potential. You can use water in so many ways, not only for drinking. It makes a permanent settlement on the Moon much more likely, though I doubt it will be in my lifetime.
I would love to live to see that happen though. It would strengthen my sense of wonder about Being. Still, knowing this is rather inevitable (having faith that the Moon will be colonized) broadens my view of things.
When we look back on a great events of the past sweeping centuries, we see the great global explorations upon the sea. The connection of peoples through air travel and satellite communications. The discovery of so many cures for so many diseases. These are the fundamental shifts in the human paradigm.
Centuries from now the fact there is water on the Moon will be seen in similar significance. The Great Recession will be no more important than the Panic of 1837. And the War on Terrorism no more lasting than the War of the Roses.