Just weeks after ISRO and NASA announced discovery of evidence of water on the lunar surface, the US Space agency is all set to bomb the Moon on Friday in search for hidden water in a controversial mission.
Scientists will see two spacecraft slamming into the moon’s south pole at 9,000 kmph kicking up a 10-km-high shower of debris that National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hopes will confirm the presence of enough water necessary to supply future visits by astronauts.
Amateur astronomers in parts of the world may be able to view the impact through a telescope; for everyone else, the crash will be broadcast live on the NASA website along with early pictures of the lunar dust cloud during the dramatic mission. Within an hour of the impact, scientists will know whether water was hiding there or not.
The Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) announced in September that the country’s first unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-I found evidence of water on the moon within a month after it was launched in October,2008, to make the first such discovery. NASA had also announced in September that it found evidence of water.
The crashing spaceship was launched in June along with an orbiter that is now mapping the lunar surface. LCROSS, short for Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite and pronounced L—Cross, is on a collision course with the moon, attached to an empty 2.2—tonne rocket that helped get the probe off the ground.
NASA is carryying out this mission to see if any water, ice or vapour is revealed in the cloud of debris. Discovering sub-surface ice is important because the ice could be used as a source of water for efforts to build a colony on the moon’s surface.