And finally: latest results from LCROSS
Artists impression of the impact of the LCROSS spacecraft on the Moon back on October 9th CREDIT: NASA
In a press briefing on November 14th, members of the LCROSS team presented the latest results from the impact of the spacecraft on the Moon back on October 9th. The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite was one of two man-made objects to impact the Moon that day. The ejecta cloud produced by the empty Centaur upper stage of the rocket created a plume of material which was imaged by an infra-red camera on board the LCROSS probe which was following four minutes behind
The roughly ten-kilometre sized cloud filled the field of view of some of the sensors on board LCROSS, resulting in good measurements of the composition of the lunar regolith. One infra-red image, taken by LCROSS from a height of just 10 km, shows the floor of the Cabeus crater for the first time, including a fresh crater from the impact of the Centaur upper stage.
The initial results from the spectra obtained by LCROSS show deep absorption features due to water, implying that there was roughly 100 kg of water in the field of view of the instrument, approximately equivalent to a dozen or so 2-gallon buckets. As well as water, the spectra also show absorption due to several other compounds, the identities of which are yet to be confirmed. See all the images from the press conference here.