Lunar Prospector was the third mission selected by NASA for full development and construction as part of the Discovery Program. At a cost of $62. 8 million, the 19-month mission was put into a low polar orbit of the Moon, accomplishing mapping of surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of lunar outgassing events. Based on Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer (NS) data, mission scientists have determined that there is indeed water ice in the polar craters of the Moon. The mission ended July 31, 1999 when the orbiter was guided to an impact into a crater near the lunar south pole in an (unsuccessful) attempt to analyze lunar polar water by vaporizing it to allow spectroscopic characterization from Earth telescopes.
Earth's Moon Reveals An Ancient Secret. Many astronomers think that during an ancient era, termed the Late Heavy Bombardment, our young Moon was violently battered by a marauding multitude of invading asteroids that crashed onto its newly formed surface. This attack of pelting objects from space occurred about 4 billion years ago, and the shower of crashing asteroids excavated impact craters, and also slashed open deep fissures, in the lunar crust. This sustained shower of merciless impacts increased lunar porosity, and opened up an intertwining network of large seams under the Moon's surface. When we learn these influences that the moon holds over us and astrological phenomena, we can use this information to our advantage. For example, during the new moon most people are not capable of rational thought. Knowing this can help you to avoid major decision making during the time of the full moon. Moons, Myths, Etc. Our bewitching, and sometimes bewildering Moon, has long been the inspiration for magical myths, weird legends, bedtime stories, and beautiful poetry. Earth's Moon is a very ancient symbol of femininity, as well as for wild bouts of strange madness and romantic love. Some ancient, traditional legends and childhood stories tell of a man's face etched out on its shining surface, while others tell strange tales of a "Moon Rabbit." Lovely, ancient myths, tales, and bedtime stories aside, Earth's Moon is a very real object. It has been a companion-world to our Earth almost from that very ancient era, when our Solar System was first forming, about 4.5 billion years ago.