Nasa mission to bomb the Moon

Nasa last night annnounced a surprise mission to find water on the Moon.
Space scientists will fire a missile into the lunar south pole – then fly a spacecraft through the cloud of debris ejected to study it.
The new probe will ride piggyback on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a craft that was already planned to be sent to the Moon in October 2008.
It will be called LCROSS – short for Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite.
Once at the Moon, the upper stage of LCROSS will be sent to impact with a crater near the south pole.
Then the main part of the probe, called the Shepherding Spacecraft, will fly through the plume.
Instruments on the spacecraft will analyze the cloud to look for signs of water and other compounds.
The impact will also be observed by telescopes on Earth.
Marvin Christensen, of Nasa’s Ames Research Centre in California, said last night: “The LCROSS mission will help us determine if there is water hidden in the permanently dark craters of the moon’s south pole.
“If we find substantial amounts of water ice there, it could be used by astronauts later to make rocket fuel.”

© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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