Wet Moon

Aha! So you were thinking the mission last month was a bit of a failure, right? Because there was no big splash (literally) of a plume for the press to gush about? I’m talking about the October LCROSS mission on October 9th that smashed an impactor onto the moon’s surface (at the Cabeus crater) to create a cloud of dust for analysis. I remember people thinking, encouraged by various reports, that the event was rather a damp squib, since it did not produce a Hollywood-style flash and plume. See an NPR report on the mission here from back then.

lcross_dataWell, science is known for being able to carry on steadily even if there are no overt special effects and a catchy soundtrack. Today, NASA announced that their analysis of the data produced from measuring the dust cloud’s properties has shown very definite signs of water (confirming and strengthening the results accumulated by other missions (India’s Chandrayaan-1 and NASA’s Deep Impact and Cassini probes) that I mentioned in an earlier post, by the way). An extract from the release:

“We are ecstatic,” said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “Multiple lines of evidence show water was present in both the high angle vapor plume and the ejecta curtain created by the LCROSS Centaur impact. The concentration and distribution of water and other substances requires further analysis, but it is safe to say Cabeus holds water.”

Phil over at Bad Astronomy has some analysis and further thoughts.

-cvj

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3 Responses to Wet Moon

  1. Philip Shane says:

    Now appears that there was indeed a Hollywood flash & plume, they were just using the wrong lens! This will be cool in Imax.

  2. Elliot says:

    As a friend of mine points out, can a Lunar Starbucks be that far off?

  3. Plato says:

    Will have to claim your land first? More on name.

    Yes for sure it’s a first step toward a moon base and colonization.

    If you can supply the components toward construction, then this becomes the first step of my mining company toward construction. 🙂