Today is a very important day in the history of the space organization, as NASA realizes their mistakes. The Moon is a mysterious place but the minds of a few scientists are even more so. Launched on January 6, 1998, the Lunar Prospector helped to map the moon’s surface composition and also looked for possible deposits of polar ice, and measure the magnetic and gravitational fields, as well as study lunar ‘outgassing.’
On March 5, 1998, scientists announced that the Lunar Prospector has a neutron spectrometer instrument that had detected hydrogen at both the lunar poles. Scientists gave out a theory that this will be in the form of water ice.
NASA crashed Lunar lander on this day in 1999
The data that the researchers collected indicated that a large quantity of water ice, possibly as much as 330 million short tons which is equivalent to 300 million metric tons, was mixed into the regolith of each pole. This was the first direct evidence of the presence of water ice at the moon’s frigid poles. This, in turn, meant that the moon will be able to release water as soon as it faces some kind of collision.
However, it is not sure as to which kind of collision was being talked about there. So, the NASA scientists took a risky decision on itself. The Lunar Prospector charged into the Moon in a controlled crash on July 31, 1999, as researchers hoped that it will shoot some signs of water on the Moon and thus prove all the hypotheses.
Researchers are reporting that they did not find any such signs. Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin presented their findings Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in Padua, Italy.
Hundreds of amateur telescope owners also observed the Lunar Prospector plunged into a permanently shadowed crater near the pole. However, it was of no use as the splash was not big enough, or else the signs would have been instant.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.