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June 23, 2009

Back to the Moon

Last Thursday NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). This duo is part of NASA's plan to return humans to the moon. Both of these spacecraft are going to be looking for water on the moon. Scientists think that water on the moon could be frozen in permanent shadow in deep craters near the poles.

LCROSS made it to the moon this morning. With it's science instruments switched on we just have to wait and see what it turns up. The picture at the top of this article is one of the first taken by LCROSS. The most exciting part of this mission will be in October. That's when LCROSS will crash into the moon sending up plume of material. Studying the spray of material will give us one of the best looks into what the surface of the moon is made of.

The LRO is also in lunar orbit. The LRO will search for water, study radiation that could be harmful to astronauts, and build the best lunar maps ever made of the made. NASA says on their website that "LRO will return more data about the moon than any previous mission."

The great thing about science is you never know what your going to find. I can't wait to see what surprises these robotic explorers send back to us. I am excited to see what new things we can learn from about the our nearest celestial neighbor.

You can see the LRO/LCROSS Launch Here
Source- NASA