At the beginning of October, NASA crashed an empty rocket into a 13-foot-deep crater at the moon's south pole. The LCROSS spacecraft analyzed the resulting cloud of moon dust for water and ice. Once its analytical duties were fulfilled, LCROSS was also crashed into the moon.
Everything went off without a hitch. The moon bombing itself was actually pretty uneventful with viewers around the globe not seeing much of anything. However, the mission was a success and NASA did manage to create a big enough plume of smoke for LCROSS to analyze. This past weekend, the results came in: yes folks, there is water on the moon and last month's mission yielded nearly 25 gallons of it.
"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."
This is, without a doubt, exciting news. That said, not everyone is as pumped about the discovery as NASA is. The Guardian cites Robert Park, a physicist at the University of Maryland and prominent skeptic of manned space flight, as saying the discovery of the water means "practically nothing" to future hopes of a base or colony on the lunar surface.
"They've haven't found a big reservoir of it," said Parks, according to The Guardian, adding that the water is of no value at all. "I suspect this is just water clinging to the soil particles. It's of almost no value at all. The amount of machinery you'd have to move up there to try to recover it – you'd have to do a lot before you could pay for the cost of that."
What do you think of the discovery? Let us know in the comments below!