NASA Taps Astronomy Community to Help Search for Lunar Water

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

News media are invited to attend a briefing from 12 p.m. to 12:30 noon PST Friday, Feb. 29 in Building 943 at NASA's Ames Research Center about the Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite, known as LCROSS, and the mission's participatory emphasis.

The briefing is part of the LCROSS Astronomer Workshop, which focuses on collaboration among NASA experts and professional astronomers on techniques for observing the debris plume that will be created when LCROSS hits the surface of the moon in early 2009. The objective of the mission is to detect possible water on the moon. Future mission activities will engage the amateur astronomy community, students and the public using ground-based and space-based telescopes.

LCROSS is scheduled to launch with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as LRO, aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in late 2008. After launch, the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Atlas V's Centaur upper stage rocket will fly by the moon and enter an elongated Earth orbit to position themselves for a rapid descent into a permanently shadowed crater near the moon's south pole.

On final approach, the instrument-laden spacecraft and the upper stage will separate. They will hit the lunar surface about four minutes apart. The spacecraft will fly through the Centaur debris plume and collect data before its own impact. The LCROSS impacts are expected to be visible from Earth using 10-to-12 inch and larger telescopes.

Media wishing to attend the briefing should contact Jonas Dino at
650-604-5612 by 12 noon PST on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The LCROSS Astronomer Workshop is co-sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the LCROSS project office, NASA Ames and the NASA Science Mission and Exploration Science Mission Directorates at NASA Headquarters, Washington.

For more information about the Astronomer Workshop, visit:

For more information about the Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite, visit:

For information about NASA programs, visit: