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! (updated)
News story originally written on August 5, 1999
The Lunar Prosector crashed into the Moon on July 31. No plume of dust was visible from Earth. Scientists will study data taken by special instruments to see if water vapor escaped.
According to scientists, this was the best way to discover water on Earth's only natural satellite. Lunar Prospector zoomed towards a giant crater near the southern pole, and crashed into it at a speed of 3,800 MPH. Scientists hoped that seconds after the collision, a cloud of water vapor would 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.
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