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NASA MISSIONS UNCOVER BURIED TREASURES ON THE MOON
10.22.10
 
NASA scientists have revealed the lunar soil inside shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, that the moon is chemically active and it also has a water cycle.  Analysis of the impact plume created by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission last year revealed the presence of pure water ice, methane, ammonia, mercury and other materials that might not have seen sunlight for billions of years.


Ames Contact: Rachel Hoover, 650-604-0643
Goddard Contact: Nancy Neal Jones, 301-286-0039
HQ Contact: Michael Braukus, 202-358-1979
For more info: www.nasa.gov/lcross or www.nasa.gov/lro

ANTHONY COLAPRETE, LCROSS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, NASA Ames

(CUT 1) RT: 00:35 “When we look at all the data we’ve collected from LCROSS and other missions, it’s really clear now that the moon has a very active water cycle.  And by water cycle, I mean there are a variety of sources, either comets or the solar wind, and these sources are coming to the moon snd then, once at the moon, this water is migrating, moving around the moon and finding its way to various places, like the cold craters.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Once in the cold craters, there’s chemistry going on that’s further changing these compounds, having them interact with each other and resulting in this mix of water and other things.”
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ANTHONY COLAPRETE, LCROSS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, NASA Ames

(CUT 2) RT: 00:39 – “About a year ago, we realized that we had water, but there’s different forms of water.  There’s water vapor, there’s water ice and shortly after looking deeper into the data, we realized that we had something really special.  We had relatively pure water ice crystals in the ejecta of the impact.  That’s really important.  It’s a very clean signature, it’s very obvious and it’s really important because water ice is a very accessible resource.  It’s easy to dig up, it’s easy to use.   But it’s also important in understanding how the water got there in the first place and how it’s been acted on or evolved since it was placed into those dark craters. “
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ANTHONY COLAPRETE, LCROSS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, NASA Ames

(CUT 3) RT: 00:27 -  “The other thing that we found that was really startling, a real surprise, was just the total amount of material other than dirt in this crater.  We found between 10 and 20 percent other material.  By other material, I mean water, hydrocarbons like methane and ammonia.  We found things like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide.  We even found mercury frozen out in this dark crater.  That was a huge surprise.”
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ANTHONY COLAPRETE, LCROSS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, NASA Ames

(CUT 4) RT: 00:46 – “The LCROSS effort was really a team effort.  We launched with LRO, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, so from Day 1, we were joined with them at the hip…quite literally and flew with them to the moon.  At impact, they flew by and made measurements that were perfectly complementary to the measurements we made.  They made measurements with their thermal instrument, Diviner, and they made measurements with a spectrometer called LAMP.  Those two instruments really made key observations of the impact site and also the vapor cloud and the components of the vapor cloud coming off that ejecta.  So this is really an example of how the whole, meaning the LCROSS-LRO team, was much greater than any individual parts.”
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