The total cost of the mission is reported as US$583 million, of which $504 million pertains to the main LRO probe and $79 million to the LCROSS
Instruments on board LCROSS
trained on the resulting immense debris plume detected water vapor and water ice, the mission's hoped-for quarry, while LRO, already in orbit around the moon, saw molecular hydrogen-a surprise.
In October 2009, LCROSS
launched its Centaur upper stage at the permanently shadowed crater Cabeus near the Moon's South Pole.
spacecraft flew to the moon on the back of a Centaur rocket.
The barely visible plume knocked into the air by Nasa's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite or LCROSS
mission last month contained some water.
Anthony Colaprete, the principal scientist of LCROSS
(the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite), said that the "eureka moment" came when the team saw a spectroscopic line indicating the presence of the OH water molecule, which could only exist if water was present in the crater.
Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS
project scientist and principal investigator at Nasa's Ames Research Centre in the US said: "We are ecstatic.
- the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite - will help determine whether the Moon has sufficient water ice to sustain exploratory efforts by humans.
Besides the LCROSS
spacecraft, the collision was viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope, the giant Keck telescopes in Hawaii and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is mapping the moon from a distance of just 31 miles above the lunar surface.
The crash may not have tossed up as much material as expected, or perhaps it hit the slopes of the deep crater, said Anthony Colaprete, project scientist and principal investigator for the $79 million LCROSS
will gather data from its 6-mile-high impact cloud.
mission will send a rocket crashing into the moon at more than twice the speed of a bullet, in order to study the resulting ejecta cloud.