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Lunar Prospector
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Lunar Prospector
Lunar Prospector Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Lunar Prospector was designed to provide answers to long-standing questions about the Moon, its resources, its structure and its origins.

Accomplishments: For a year and a half its five instruments mapped lunar resources, gravity and magnetic fields, and even outgassing events. After a year and a half of ground-breaking science, Lunar Prospector took a bold step towards furthering its science legacy by intentionally impacting a targeted south polar crater of the Moon, in the hopes that ejecta from the impact could be seen from Earth and analyzed for the existence of water ice.

Key Dates
6 Jan 1998:  Launch (02:28:44 UT)
11 Jan 1998:  Arrival at Moon
31 Jul 1999:  Moon Impact (09:52:02 UT)
Status: Mission complete
Fast Facts
Lunar Prospector Facts Lunar Prospector was the first mission to be competitively selected and the third to launch in a series of missions in NASA's Discovery program.

The vehicle carried the cremated remains of geologist Eugene Shoemaker (right) to the lunar surface.

When full of fuel, Lunar Prospector weighed only 295 kg (650 lb). That's about a quarter as heavy as an average-sized car!
Science & Technology Features
People Spotlight
Richard Elphic Richard Elphic
"Viewing the moon when humans were walking on it -- awesome! -- I wish kids could do that today." Read More...
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Last Updated: 13 Dec 2010