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.
Click on image for full size
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 be propelled 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, however, say there is no water on the Moon. Instead, the satellite will hit a surface which they say is like concrete.
"We don't believe that crater is paved like a roadway, but we do believe the soil may be chemically very much like concrete," said Von R. Eshleman, a researcher at Stanford University.
Eshleman believes 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. The water could be separated into oxygen, which could be used for a breathing gas, and hydrogen, which can be used for fuel.
Unfortunately, amateurs will not be able to see anything. "I doubt if there will be a flash," David Goldstein, the scientist that first came up with the idea, said. "And the vapor cloud won't be visible."
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more