Lunar craft looks for water; takes Shoemaker along


  • Randy Showstack


The Lunar Prospector, launched on January 6, could help answer long-standing questions about the Moon's resources, evolution, and core, as it maps the Moon's surface and its gravitational and magnetic fields during a 1-year polar orbiting mission, NASA says.

However, Prospector's neutron spectrometer, one of five instruments onboard the spacecraft, is receiving most of the attention. That device will scan for water ice in the deep craters of the Moon's south pole. Radar mapping instruments onboard the United States' 1994 military probe Clementine had suggested the possible presence of water on the Moon.