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NASA unveiled new data Thursday from two spacecraft it sent into lunar orbit , the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The LCROSS satellite purposely crashed into the lunar surface last year (gallery) and analysis showed that the resulting plume contained water ice crystals. Although the existance of water on the moon was announced last year, new details on the findings are being revealed in six papers published in Science. Plus, the LRO has also been taking pictures and examining the moon's surface for more hidden treasures.
Above is where the nose cone of a rocket and the LCROSS probe crashed into the lunar surface (x). Measured is the amount of ejecta material in sunlight, in kilograms per square meter, derived from visible light measurements from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer about 90 seconds after impact.
Credit: NASA. Click on any image to enlarge.
The impact created a vapor cloud that shot up 12 miles from the surface made up of mostly water ice crystals.
Estimates have shown that there could be as much as 1.3 million pounds of water ice on the moon. Why is this so important? It costs about $400,000 to transport 1 gallon of water from the Earth to the moon. If man is to spend any length of time on the lunar surface, a source of water is critical.