Ice Water Discovered on the Moon: LCROSS Successful
Well Outer Space Universe Fans….I told you I would stay on this one until we found out the truth about the LCROSS lunar impact event held on October 9, 2009. The results are in and there is evidence of water on the Moon! Scientists have verified that the debris plume (which was not visible to me on the day of impact) did, in fact, contain about 25 gallons of water.
On October 9, 2009, NASA conducted a planned crash of the LCROSS satellite along with it’s Centaur rocket booster into Crater Cabeus on the south pole of the moon. The idea was to send the large, heavy Centaur booster into a permanently shadowed crater at a high rate of speed. The energy of the impact would vaporize lunar material and create a debris plume that could be sampled by the LCROSS satellite which was following closely behind. Sadly, the LCROSS instrument package couldn’t bask too long in the glory of scientific discovery because it too crashed shortly after the Centaur. I know a lot of us watched this event live and were disappointed by the lack of evidence that the Centaur actually hit the moon! I know we all love extraterrestrial explosions and there was absolutely nothing to see.
Although the mission was not dramatic, it was successful. LCROSS collected an enormous amount of data before it met it’s untimely fate. It took scientists several weeks to conduct a preliminary review of the data and the results were released this week confirming that there is water on the moon. This water is captured in the form of ice and kept frozen in the eternally cold bottom of craters where sunlight does not penetrate. This new discovery changes how we think about the resources available to us on the moon – water is not only needed to sustain human life, it can also be broken down into it’s component parts to make other useful things like rocket fuel. It will make it much easier for us to colonize the moon and use it as a staging area for further exploration of our solar system and beyond. Let’s raise a glass of ice water in a toast to the folks at NASA for a successful mission!