NASA successfully bombed the moon on Friday ending the LCROSS mission. Now scientists will begin their search for water.
NASA did it. NASA bombed the moon.
Its LCROSS mission punched two new craters in the moon this morning, and only about a minute behind schedule (see video below).
As for whether LCROSS kicked up evidence for water on the moon (the object of the exercise), the jury is still out.
It will take scientists a couple of weeks to figure out if the shadowed area of Cabeus crater holds any water ice. Visually, not much seemed to happen. Michael Bicay, the science director a NASA's Ames Research Center said: "It's hard to tell what we saw here."
But if the science team does find water? How do you get at it, especially if it's covered with moon dust? Just nuke it in a microwave!
Using simulated moon dirt, they found that under very cold, moon-like temperatures and in a vacuum, a standard household microwave oven would heat the lunar soil, causing ice that had condensed on the soil's grains to change directly from solid directly to gas. By trapping and cooling the gas, they got liquid water.