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LCROSS finds "significant" water deposits on the Moon
Posted: Fri, Nov 13, 2009, 2:24 PM ET (1924 GMT)
LCROSS spacecraft illustration (NASA) Scientists analyzing data collected by NASA's LCROSS lunar impactor mission said Friday that that had detected a "significant amount" of water in a lunar crater. The LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) impacted a Centaur upper stage in the Cabeus crater near the Moon's south pole on October 9; LCROSS studied the plume before itself impacting in the crater a few minutes later. Data returned by LCROSS after the Centaur impact, specifically near infrared spectra, contained the signature of water ice as well as other, unidentified, compounds. The amount of water there is much greater than what had been detected in the lunar regolith elsewhere by other missions: about 100 kilograms in the plume kicked up by the Centaur impact. Scientists had long thought greater quantities of water ice could exist in the permanently-shadowed regions of craters near the lunar poles, where ice could remain stable for billions of years.
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