Report

Diviner Lunar Radiometer Observations of the LCROSS Impact

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6003, pp. 477-479
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197135

You are currently viewing the editor's summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Watering the Moon

About a year ago, a spent upper stage of an Atlas rocket was deliberately crashed into a crater at the south pole of the Moon, ejecting a plume of debris, dust, and vapor. The goal of this event, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) experiment, was to search for water and other volatiles in the soil of one of the coldest places on the Moon: the permanently shadowed region within the Cabeus crater. Using ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared spectroscopy data from accompanying craft, Colaprete et al. (p. 463; see the news story by Kerr; see the cover) found evidence for the presence of water and other volatiles within the ejecta cloud. Schultz et al. (p. 468) monitored the different stages of the impact and the resulting plume. Gladstone et al. (p. 472), using an ultraviolet spectrograph onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), detected H2, CO, Ca, Hg, and Mg in the impact plume, and Hayne et al. (p. 477) measured the thermal signature of the impact and discovered that it had heated a 30 to 200 square-meter region from ∼40 kelvin to at least 950 kelvin. Paige et al. (p. 479) mapped cryogenic zones predictive of volatile entrapment, and Mitrofanov et al. (p. 483) used LRO instruments to confirm that surface temperatures in the south polar region persist even in sunlight. In all, about 155 kilograms of water vapor was emitted during the impact; meanwhile, the LRO continues to orbit the Moon, sending back a stream of data to help us understand the evolution of its complex surface structures.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science