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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Polar Ice  
  Water ice at the poles of the Moon.  

Although sf authors did not first think of ice on the moon, or ice on the poles, this is a nice effort to bring the discussion to sf readers.

Tortured sheets of frozen water cowered at the Moon's poles, hiding from the blinding power of the Sun. On a map, the ice fields are minute, covering a mere dot of the surface, easily missed from orbit. But right at the North Pole, it seemed to Larry as if the ice covered everything. The craters, the hillocks and the boulders were all covered in the midnight-black gleam of glare ice as seen by starlight. Here the Sun, hidden by high crater walls and mountains, never shone.

The first signs of polar ice had not been noticed until human settlement on the Moon was well advanced. Some thought it was all there as a result of human activity, water vapor leaking out of life-support systems on the Moon and the nearby habitats. The theory rather vaguely suggested the water was transported to the Lunar poles and deposited there. Other theories held that the ice was natural and cyclic, appearing and vanishing in a very long-term pattern that had nothing to do with humans.

From The Ring of Charon, by Roger MacBride Allen.
Published by Tor in 1990
Additional resources -

Ice in polar lunar craters? The idea was first raised by Caltech researchers Kenneth Watson, Bruce C. Murray, and Harrison Brown in 1961. Water was actually found in 2010, well before any permanent habitats, by the lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1.

See also the article on lunar ice mining, from Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Thanks to L. Paul Penrod for writing in with this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Ring of Charon
  More Ideas and Technology by Roger MacBride Allen
  Tech news articles related to The Ring of Charon
  Tech news articles related to works by Roger MacBride Allen

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