Couldn't find element LayerAd

Error finding content

LRO/LCROSS Mission to the Moon - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!

LRO/LCROSS Mission to the Moon

LRO and LCROSS were launched together on the same rocket in June 2009. LRO maps the Moon from lunar orbit. LCROSS crashes (on purpose!) near the South Pole.
Images courtesy of NASA.

LRO and LCROSS are two space missions sent by NASA to Earth's Moon. LRO and LCROSS were launched from Florida in June 2009. The two spacecraft were launched together on one rocket.

LRO stands for "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter". LRO is in orbit around the Moon. It is taking very detailed pictures of the Moon's surface. These pictures will be used to make a better new map of the Moon. That map will help scientists plan other Moon missions that are coming up in the next few years. LRO is also searching for signs of water ice near the Moon's North and South Poles. LRO is also studying radiation near the Moon. That will be important to know about when astronauts go back to the Moon.

LCROSS stands for Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite. LCROSS will crash into the Moon on purpose! It will hit the Moon near the South Pole on October 9, 2009. LCROSS is trying to detect signs of water ice in craters near the Moon's South Pole, if any is there. The Centaur upper stage of the rocket that launched LRO and LCROSS will crash into a crater near the South Pole. Scientists think there might be water ice in that crater. The crash will create a large plume of material when the Centaur explodes upon impact. LCROSS will use instruments to search for signs of water molecules within the plume. The LCROSS spacecraft will also smash into the Moon soon after the Centaur rocket. Telescopes on Earth will watch both crashes.

LRO/LCROSS mission overview video from NASA

LRO/LCROSS "First Step" video from NASA

NASA's LCROSS web site

NASA's LRO web site

The Moon's South Pole

LCROSS web site at NASA Ames

LRO web site at NASA Goddard

Last modified October 6, 2009 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more


Radiation comes in two basic types: electromagnetic radiation transmitted by photons, and particle radiation consisting of electrons, protons, alpha particles, and so forth. Electromagnetic radiation,...more

Radiation Dangers to Astronauts

Astronauts are exposed to many different types of dangerous radiation in space. Space agencies, like NASA, must carefully monitor the radiation exposure of astronauts to make sure they remain safe and...more


Most things around us are made of groups of atoms bonded together into packages called molecules. The atoms in a molecule are held together because they share or exchange electrons. Molecules are made...more

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST found numerous...more

Apollo 11

Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo 11 was the name of the first mission...more

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 was launched on Nov. 14, 1969, surviving a lightning strike which temporarily shut down many systems, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended...more

Apollo 15

Apollo 15 marked the start of a new series of missions from the Apollo space program, each capable of exploring more lunar terrain than ever before. Launched on July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 reached the Moon...more

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