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NASA finds 'significant' water on moon

NASA calls discovery of water on the moon "a new chapter."
NASA: Discovery could allow for development of lunar space station
Information comes from satellite mission to moon last month
Spokesman: "Indeed, yes, we found water"
Discovery "opens a new chapter in our understanding of the moon," agency says
History of Space Exploration
NASA Ames Research Center

(CNN) -- NASA said Friday it had discovered water on the moon, opening "a new chapter" that could allow for the development of a lunar space station.
The discovery was announced by project scientist Anthony Colaprete at a midday news conference. "Indeed, yes, we found water," he said.
The find is based on preliminary data collected when the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, intentionally crashed October 9 into the permanently shadowed region of Cabeus crater near the moon's south pole.
After the satellite struck, a rocket flew through the debris cloud, measuring the amount of water and providing a host of other data, Colaprete said.
The project team concentrated on data from the satellite's spectrometers, which provide the best information about the presence of water, Colaprete said. A spectrometer helps identify the composition of materials by examining light they emit or absorb.
Although the goal of the $79 million mission was to determine whether there is water on the moon, discoveries in other areas are expected as studies progress, Colaprete and other scientists said at the briefing at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field near San Francisco, California.
"The discovery opens a new chapter in our understanding of the moon," the space agency said in a written statement shortly after the briefing began.
Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington, said the latest discovery also could unlock the mysteries of the solar system.
He listed several options as sources for the water, including solar winds, comets, giant molecular clouds or even the moon itself through some kind of internal activity. The Earth also may have a role, Wargo said.
"If the water that was formed or deposited is billions of years old, these polar cold traps could hold a key to the history and evolution of the solar system, much as an ice core sample taken on Earth reveals ancient data," NASA said in its statement.
"In addition, water and other compounds represent potential resources that could sustain future lunar exploration."

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Comment by Rebecca Shannon Ling on November 16, 2009 at 9:36am
didnt they take samples of moon rock back in the 60s? they shouldve found out then
Comment by Peregrine Swift on November 14, 2009 at 6:02am
Well for one, as the IRSO reported-- the Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe found traces of water in the form of water molecules on the surface of the moon in the order of a few thoudand ppm. If you compare that to NASA's announcements about the LCROSS findings, it should be obvious why this is big news at least for some people (although maybe not shocking).

The problem with those mainstream news articles is just that; they are mainstream articles. They're written by people who manage to get their hands on a press release, not by people who have an interest or knowledge in astronomy. So they sacrifice detail for the sake of selling a story, that's mainstrem media for you. If you want to cite a source whose information is actually reliable, why not the organization that conducted the actual research.

There might be something to the Dark Mission site, I don't know. Personally I don't feel that in this particular case there's reason to suspect an ulterior motive for the LCROSS, just an unsophisticated but cost-effective way of confirming initial findings by the Chandrayaan-1. Who knows I'd possibly change my mind if someone managed to cough up a compelling reason to suspect anything sinister out of one of the most under-funded programs in the country, so long as they get their facts straight.
Comment by 11:11 Lightning 11:11 on November 13, 2009 at 8:31pm
I’m not sure why this is big news considering that the Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe (using NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper) found water on the moon back in September. Makes you wonder what the LCROSS mission was really about. Check the links below for a couple of mainstream news articles making the announcement:

Also check out an alternate view of the NASA space program below:

Pretty fascinating stuff!

Love and Respect
Comment by Peregrine Swift on November 13, 2009 at 3:13pm
Awesome discovery! I'm proud of NASA for making these kinds of modest breakthroughs every once in a while despite their paltry funding. A big thanks to all the men and women who devote their life to making it happen :)

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