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Collision with the Moon to unearth water


Wait, what? There’s water on the moon? Yes – through the millions and billions of years, comets have constantly impacted the moon. What do comets consist of (among other things)? You got it, ice.


Scientists believe that when the comets have struck the moon, they released water onto the moon’s surface. How do we know where comets have struck? Simple – just look for the impact zones or craters.

That’s why NASA scientists are focusing on craters, in particular a crater called Cabeus on the moon’s south pole.

Where: The Earth’s moon

Mission: Impact a moon’s crater

Why: To discover lunar water

When: Friday night NZT

Spacecrafts: Centaur and LCROSS


Cabeus crater on moon’s south pole
Image credit: NASA


There will be two impacts of the moon on Friday morning.

Collision #1

First, a rocket called the Centaur strike the moon. The collision of the Centaur and the moon will transform thousands of kilograms of mass and 10 billion joules of kinetic energy into a blinding flash of heat and light.

Researchers expect the impact to throw up a plume of debris as high 6 miles.

Search for water

Close behind, the LCROSS mothership will photograph the collision for NASA TV and then fly right through the debris plume.

Onboard measurement devices known as spectrometers will analyze the sunlit plume for signs of water, water fragments, salts, clays, hydrated minerals and assorted organic molecules.
Collision #2

Next comes the mothership’s own plunge. Four minutes after the Centaur impact, the LCROSS satellite will strike nearby, sending another, smaller debris plume over the rim of Cabeus.

Additional search for water

The Hubble Space Telescope, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and hundreds of telescopes great and small on Earth will scrutinize the two plumes, looking for signs of water and the unexpected.

Credit to for mission details.



Peter on 7/10/2009 3:06am

Surely it is to try and un lunar water.. Cant unearth it up there.. lol

Zelda Wynn on 6/10/2009 8:47pm

Fascinating info! A bit like the info I have been reading about “cirrus” and global cooling,and then there is Rob Fyfe of Air New Zealand discussing the climate circus in todays Herald.:)

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