News for October, 1999
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October 15, 1999

Lunar Prospector Failed to Find Water

Lunar Prospector
Image courtesy of NASA

The latest news is that the crash of the Lunar Prospector into the south pole of the Moon failed to reveal the presence of water.  Several reasons are given for this, most leave room for the possiblity of eventually finding water ice at the Moon's poles.

The final act of the Lunar Prospector's mission to map the surface of the Moon was to use the last remaining bit of fuel to crash-land the craft into a permanently shadowed region of the Moon's south pole.  The hope was that the impact would have enough force to create a plume of dust and ice that would be detectable from instruments on Earth and in orbit.  The hoped-for plume was not observed.

Coverage around the net:
UT Engineering News - The Impact of Lunar Prospector in a Lunar Polar Crater did not Detect Water Ice (October 13, 1999)
Space Daily - Prospector Finds A Dry Well (October 13, 1999) - Search for Lunar Water Comes Up Dry (October 13, 1999) - Search for moon water comes up dry (October 13, 1999)
Spaceviews - No Water Detected from Lunar Prospector Crash (October 13, 1999) - Lunar Prospector Went Down Without a Trace (Sept 3, 1999)
Spaceviews - Prospector Crash Created No Dust Cloud (September 3, 1999)
Spaceviews - Lunar Prospector Crashes on the Moon (July 31, 1999) - Two Scientists Doubt There's Water On The Moon (July 22, 1999) - Astronomers Looking Forward to Lunar Prospector Plunge (July 21, 1999) - Lunar Prospector Survives Eclipse.  Ready For Crash Into Moon (June 29, 1999)

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