NASA LCROSS Satellite Crashes into Moon Looking for Water

Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Sattelite

Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Sattelite

At 7:35am EST, the NASA LCROSS Satellite crashed into the Moon!  Fortunately, this wasn’t an accident!  In fact, this highly choreographed  mission was designed to send the spacecraft directly into the lunar surface in an effort to detect water vapor.

Yawn!  I watched the event live and…welll….maybe they missed!  I didn’t see anything happen.  As you know, the staff here at OSU loves galactic collisions and we were fired up to see a giant explosion erupt on the surface of the moon.  It didn’t happen.  Take a look at the image to the right.  I captured this near infrared image right after the Centaur booster slammed into the lunar surface.  Nothing!  You would think that something weighing thousands of pounds and traveling well over 1.6 miles per second would be noticeable!

LCROSS Image After Centaur Booster Impact

LCROSS Image After Centaur Booster Impact

I’m sure that NASA will be analyzing the data for weeks, in fact, they say that they should be able to confirm the presence of water on the moon within an hour of impact.

Why is this important?  If we can find water on the moon, it will make it much more cost effective to establish a long term presence there.  Water is heavy and costs a lot to transport from the Earth to the Moon.  In addition, water can be broken down into oxygen and hydrogen (rocket fuel).

How did water get there?  The most common belief is that the moon was pounded by comets and comet fragments.  As you know, comets are giant ice balls.

We’ll stay on this story and let you know if  lunar H2O is real.

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