NASA searches for water on the moon

February 29, 2008 11:58:50 PM PST
NASA scientist is calling it a space exploration unlike any other. It sounds like it could be out of a star trek episode, but it's set to launch in October as scientist search for water on the moon. Now, NASA scientists are hoping the moon can offer something more valuable than just rocks.

A team from NASA Ames proposed the mission, which will be carried out by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).

Finding water on the moon would be a major discovery for NASA. It would mean the possibility of breathable air, drinkable water, and using those minerals to make rocket fuel. Having all of those things on the moon already would save NASA a lot of money.

The $76 million dollar mission launches in October and the goal is to study the plumes LCROSS creates as it crashes into the moon. Scientists will look for signs of water in the debris.

"Understanding the volatility in these craters tells us the history of the moon and earth, and the entire solar system over the last billion years," says Tony Colaprete, NASA.

"This is perhaps the next best thing to actually being there," says Rob Landis, Astronomer.

For the first time, NASA is offering to take the public on this ride. They're inviting professional and amateur astronomers to study LCROSS' impacts.

"There's a little bit of something for everyone, whether you want to go out in your backyard and observe the impacts or you want to monitor the science data that's coming in from the professional telescopes, that's available as well," says Jennifer Heldmann, LCROSS Observation Campaign.

NASA is actually helping professionals with that step tough a day long workshop, where astronomers, like rob landis, learn to fill out telescope applications. He wants to watch LCROSS through Hubble. "There's no better thing than to be in the middle of it all, and what better thing is it than to work for NASA and use some incredible equipment like Hubble to do this," says Landis.

While access to Hubble is limited, the show in the sky will not be and all it will take is a twelve inch telescope.

LINKS: More information on NASA's moon project