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  • Impact! Water on the Moon?

    I dragged myself out of bed at 4:00 AM PST to await the impact of the LCROSS spacecraft on the moon. It was a beautiful night—not too cool with very clear skies. Despite the brightness of the moon, I saw Orion, Cassiopeia, the Pleiades, and more. I also saw my own shadow in the moonlight. (Infrared image of moon as LCROSS spacecraft approaches. Image from NASA TV.)

    I watched a live feed of NASA TV on my laptop out in the field. Shortly after impact, I looked through my 12.5 inch telescope. No plume. It was a long shot to see it, but I had to try. (Image of moon from the LCROSS spacecraft. Taken from NASA TV.)

    NASA will be analyzing the data for the next few days, with the earliest results coming within hours. They are looking for water and hydroxyls (oxygen-hydrogen with a covalent bond). The spacecraft crashed into the polar region where it is permanently shadowed and incredibly cold. If water is there, it would be permanently present as ice. Stay tuned! Water on the moon will not solve our global water crisis, but it will inform theories about the formation of the earth and moon.