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The Lunar Prospector will crash into the Moon on July 31, 1999. Scientists say they chose this date because funding for the project ends on August 1, 1999.
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Courtesy of NASA

Lunar Prospector Will Crash Into the Moon!
News story originally written on July 26, 1999

Don't look at the moon on July 31! A horrible incident will occur! One of NASA's satellites will crash into the Moon! But Wait! Reports from NASA say that they want Lunar Prospector to collide with the Moon. But why?

According to scientists, this is the best way to discover water on Earth's only natural satellite. Lunar Prospector will zoom towards a giant crater near the southern pole, and will crash into it at a speed of 3,800 MPH. Scientists hope that seconds after the collision, a cloud of water vapor will surround the spacecraft.

Other scientists believe that if there is any water at all, it is locked up in mineral crystals. These crystals would have to be heated to very high temperatures before the water could be taken out. Scientists are hoping that water would be available for a future lunar base on the Moon.

Unfortunately, there will not be anything for you to see. The cloud will be too small to see from Earth without a powerful telescope.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF