Kenji Williams performs Bella Gaia live on the lawn at NASA Ames Research Center prior to the LCROSS spacecraft striking the moon on Oct. 9, 2009. This was at about 2 in the morning in front of a group of people camped out to watch the early morning collision.
WASHINGTON — NASA will host a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 21, to discuss additional findings from NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, missions.
NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, mission has won Popular Mechanics magazine’s 2010 Breakthrough Award for innovation in science and technology.
The sixth annual Breakthrough Awards recognize innovators and products poised to change the world in fields such as technology, medicine, aviation and environmental engineering. Honorees will be celebrated during a ceremony tonight at Hearst Tower in New York City.
While the results obtained from the LCROSS mission are of some scientific interest, it needs to be understood that the amount of water discovered was extremely small. The 30 m crater ejected by the probe contained 10 million kilograms of regolith. Within this ejecta, an estimated 100 kg of water was detected. That represents a proportion of 10 parts per million, which is a lower water concentration than that found in the soil of the driest deserts of the Earth. In contrast, we have found continent sized regions on Mars, which are 600,000 parts per million, or 60% water by weight.
On November 13, 2009, NASA announced that preliminary data from the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, indicates that the mission successfully uncovered water during the October 9, 2009 impacts into the permanently shadowed region of Cabeus crater near the Moon’s south pole.
According to Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President of the National Space Society, “The discovery of water on the Moon dramatically improves the case for the development of lunar resources. All of the varied proposals to use these resources to provide very large amounts of carbon free energy for use on the Earth are suddenly more cost effective. In the long run, lunar resources may provide the solution to our energy and climate change problems.”
Added Rick Zucker, NSS Vice President of Public Affairs, “NSS applauds NASA’s continuing efforts to unlock the secrets of the universe, to expand the boundaries of human knowledge, and to apply that which we learn for the betterment of humanity.”
At a press conference this morning in California, NASA scientists announced that they had discovered a significant amount of water buried under the seemingly dry lunar surface.
Officials at the NASA Ames Research Center revealed preliminary findings from the LCROSS mission, which last month slammed a Centaur upper stage into the Cabeus crater at the moon’s south pole. Measurements of the resulting plume were taken by a trailing vehicle, NASA’s LRO lunar orbiter, and other spacecraft.
Kelly Beatty has an update on the LCROSS findings over at Sky & Telescope. NASA scientists are still analyzing data and may announce some preliminary results (including the discovery of water) at the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group meeting in Houston on Nov. 16-19.
For now, let me tantalize you with a preliminary result from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which viewed the Centaur’s demise from nearly overhead and just 48 miles (76 km) up. An instrument dubbed the Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) probed the ultraviolet spectrum of the impact plume after it had risen high enough to be projected against black space above the lunar limb.
NASAâ€™s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a smashing success, returning tantalizing data about the Centaur impact before the spacecraft itself impacted the surface of the moon.
Last week, plunging headlong into Cabeus crater, the nine LCROSS instruments successfully captured each phase of the impact sequence: the impact flash, the ejecta plume, and the creation of the Centaur crater.
Paul Spudis, Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, doesn’t think much of the recently concluded LCROSS mission. In a essay titled, “LCROSS: Mission to HYPErspace,” he outlines its scientific shortcomings: (more…)
NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, created twin impacts on the moon’s surface early Friday in a search for water ice. Scientists will analyze data from the spacecraft’s instruments to assess whether water ice is present.
The satellite traveled 5.6 million miles during an historic 113-day mission that ended in the Cabeus crater, a permanently shadowed region near the moon’s south pole. The spacecraft was launched June 18 as a companion mission to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” as the old lament goes. For almost 50 years, the Centaur high-energy upper stage rocket has been the behind-the-scenes workhorse of NASAâ€™s exploration of space. Teamed with the Atlas and Titan booster rockets, Centaurs have sent probes to the each of our solar systems planets and beyond. Now, Centaur gets its “15 minutes” of fame.
NASA has identified the spot where it will search for water on the moon. Reporters are invited to attend the announcement of the target location where the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its spent Centaur rocket will hit in October. The briefing will take place at 10 a.m. PDT, Friday, Sept. 11, in the main auditorium, Building N201, of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s Web site.