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The LCROSS probe launched in June, with the goal of discovery water.  (Source: NASA)

The probe carried high tech instruments aboard it to scan for the presence of water.  (Source: NASA)

The probe successfully launched its impacter on October 9, and flew through the plume. Subsequently analysis of its readings revealed abundant levels of water.  (Source: NASA)
The word finally comes about the latest round of Moon studies

On June 18, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS mission lifted off aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, FL.  With a body designed by Northrop Grumman and instruments designed by NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC), the spacecraft succeeded in sending an impact module slamming into the moon's southern Lunar crater Cabeus.

The Shepherding Rocket then flew through the over 350 tons of excavated material, relaying readings back to Earth, before making its own crash-landing on the Lunar surface.  After a month of analysis, NASA announced the results at a triumphant press conference at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field near San Francisco, California.

Describes NASA scientist Anthony Colaprete, "I'm here today to tell you that indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn't find just a little bit; we found a significant amount."

He says an estimated dozen two-gallon buckets of water (in other words, approximately 24 gallons of water) was detected in the excavated debris -- a significant amount of water.  This provides the most compelling evidence to date in the long running debate over whether the Moon has water frozen in its rocky soil.  The composition was analyzed using spectrometers onboard the tailing rocket.

While the future of NASA's Ares program remains in jeopardy thanks to questions concerning its budget and viability, NASA officials couldn't have asked for a much better way to kick off our nation's plan to return to the moon.  At $79M USD, the mission was a critical one to the program, and it delivered.

The Lunar water is significant as it improves our nation's chances of being able to set up a successful Lunar colony, one of the goals of our proposed return to the Moon, first proposed by former President George W. Bush, and now championed by current President Barack Obama.  While resources would still be tight, Lunar water could be used to reduce the amount of materials necessary to be transported from Earth to the prospective colony.

A new puzzle is how the Lunar water came to the Moon in the first place.  Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington suggests that potentials sources include solar winds, comets, giant molecular clouds or even the moon itself through some kind of internal activity. 

He states, "If the water that was formed or deposited is billions of years old, these polar cold traps could hold a key to the history and evolution of the solar system, much as an ice core sample taken on Earth reveals ancient data. In addition, water and other compounds represent potential resources that could sustain future lunar exploration."




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