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Microwaving Water from Moondust

Apollo 12 astronaut Allan Bean on the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Science Article - 08.10.2009]
NASA is figuring out how to make water from moondust. Sounds like magic?

"No magic--" says Ed Ethridge of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center "-- just microwaves. We're showing how microwaves can extract water from moondust by heating it from the inside out."

The recent discovery of water on the Moon's surface has inspired researchers like Ethridge to rev up the development of technologies to capture it. Some of them believe the small amounts of frozen water mixed in lunar topsoil are just the tip of the iceberg.1 If so, Ethridge has figured out a way to retrieve it.

NASA Invites Reporters to Events for LCROSS Lunar Impact

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 06.10.2009]
NASA is inviting journalists to events this week in Washington and California to observe the twin impacts of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its rocket's upper stage as they impact the moon. The goal of the mission is to search for water ice on the moon.

The satellite and upper stage both are scheduled to hit a permanently shadowed crater of the moon, four minutes apart, at approximately 4:30 a.m. and 4:34 a.m. PDT on Friday, Oct. 9. NASA Television coverage begins at 3:15 a.m. PDT.

NASA Honors JFK with Moon Rock to be Displayed at Rice University

NASA logo. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 05.10.2009]
On the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, NASA honored President John F. Kennedy with an Ambassador of Exploration Award for his vision and leadership in landing a man on the moon. The Kennedy family has selected Rice University to house and publicly display the award, a lunar sample, at Fondren Library.
Kennedy called for a national initiative to go to the moon during a speech given at Rice University on Sept. 12, 1962.

LCROSS Viewer's Guide

LCROSS impact crater Cabeus. Credits: NASA

[NASA Science Article - 05.10.2009]
Just imagine. A spaceship plunges out of the night sky, hits the ground and explodes. A plume of debris billows back into the heavens, leading your eye to a second ship in hot pursuit. Four minutes later, that one hits the ground, too. It's raining spaceships!

Put on your hard hat and get ready for action, because on Friday, Oct. 9th, what you just imagined is really going to happen--and you can have a front row seat.

NASA Ames to Showcase Spectacular LCROSS Lunar Impacts

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 05.10.2009]
NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission will come to a dramatic conclusion at approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT (7:30 a.m. EDT) on Friday, Oct 9, 2009, with the impact of the LCROSS Centaur upper stage rocket and four minutes later, the impact of the LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft into Cabeus crater near the moon's south pole. To mark the event, NASA Ames Research Center is hosting 'LCROSS Impact Night.' News media are invited to cover the three-part event that is open to the public and free of charge.

NASA Sponsors Student Water Recycling Competition

NASA logo. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 01.10.2009]
NASA is inviting fifth through eighth grade students to participate in a waste limitation management and recycling design challenge. Participants in the competition will design and test water recycling systems that could be used for future exploration of the moon. The top three teams will receive awards, and the first place team will receive an expense-paid trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA's LCROSS Mission Changes Impact Crater

LCROSS impact crater Cabeus. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 29.09.2009]
NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission (LCROSS) based on new analysis of available lunar data, has shifted the target crater from Cabeus A to Cabeus (proper).

The decision was based on continued evaluation of all available data and consultation/input from members of the LCROSS Science Team and the scientific community, including impact experts, ground and space based observers, and observations from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Prospector (LP), Chandrayaan-1 and JAXA's Kaguya spacecraft. This decision was prompted by the current best understanding of hydrogen concentrations in the Cabeus region, including cross-correlation between the latest LRO results and LP data sets.

NASA Instruments Reveal Water Molecules on Lunar Surface

Chandrayaan-1 image of water on the Moon surface. Credits: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Brown Univ

[NASA Press Release - 24.09.2009]
NASA scientists have discovered water molecules in the polar regions of the moon. Instruments aboard three separate spacecraft revealed water molecules in amounts that are greater than predicted, but still relatively small. Hydroxyl, a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom, also was found in the lunar soil. The findings were published in Thursday's edition of the journal Science.

Lunar South Pole - Out of the Shadows

Moon south pole seen from LRO. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 16.09.2009]
During the LRO Commissioning Phase, the high-resolution Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) captured this 1-m pixel scale (angular resolution) two-image mosaic of the lunar south pole, which is located on the rim of the 19-km diameter Shackleton crater. At meter scales features such as boulders and ridges can be mapped, paving the way for future explorers. Right now we know little of the poles and much is to be learned from the data now being returned from LRO. The rim of Shackleton crater is a prime candidate for future human exploration due to its proximity to permanently shadowed regions and nearby peaks that are illuminated for much of the year. The permanent shadow may harbor cold-trapped volatiles deposited as comets and asteroids impacted the Moon over the past billion years or more. Highly illuminated peaks provide opportunities for solar power during most of the year for future human habitation.

Doubts about LCROSS landing site

LPOD 12.09.2009. Credits: NASA

[LPOD - 12.09.2009]

Editors note: This is a comment made by Chuck Wood on the LPOD wesite

I am confused by NASA's selection of Cabeus A as the target for the LCROSS impact of October 9. According to the NASA press release Cabeus A was selected based on a set of conditions that include proper debris plume illumination for visibility from Earth, a high concentration of hydrogen, and mature crater features such as a flat floor, gentle slopes and the absence of large boulders.

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