Lunar Prospector


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Lunar Prospector

A lunar orbiter launched Jan. 6 1998 by NASA as part of its Discovery program. Its primary mission was to conduct a thorough investigation of the Moon from a low polar orbit. The investigation included mapping the composition of the Moon's surface and pinpointing lunar resources, making measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and detecting radon outgassing events in the hope of partly accounting for the Moon's tenuous atmosphere. Following a 105-hour cruise to the Moon, the probe went into a nearly circular orbit taking it once around the satellite every 118 minutes at an altitude of 100 km. The Lunar Prospector carried five instruments, but it had no onboard cameras, unlike Clementine, an earlier Moon-mapping mission which had concentrated on equatorial and middle latitudes. Instead, it sought to collect its data using a gamma-ray spectrometer and a neutron spectrometer, a magnetometer and electron reflectometer, and an alpha particle spectrometer. In a part of the mission known as the Doppler Gravity Experiment, investigators used Doppler tracking of S-band radio signals to characterize the spacecraft's orbit and map the Moon's gravity field and topographical crustal structure. The Lunar Prospector's neutron spectrometer returned data that seemed to support the existence of water ice locked up in permanently shadowed polar craters, a situation suggested by analysis of Clementine's results. In December 1998, project scientists lowered the Lunar Prospector's orbit to 40 km and later to 30 km. On July 31 1999, the probe was guided into a polar crater and deliberately crashed in the hope of throwing up water in the impact plume, but none was observed.
References in periodicals archive ?
Discovery Program: Lunar Prospector - NASA intentionally crashes the spacecraft into the Moon, thus ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon's surface ?
Lunar Outpost has announced the unveiling of its Lunar Prospector, designed to map the Moon's natural resources, the company said.
NASA's Lunar Prospector and JAXA's Kaguya spacecraft, which orbited close to the lunar surface, both carried sensitive instruments that mapped the Moon's weak magnetic field.
An ounce of ashes from the father of astrogeology, (https://astrogeology.usgs.gov/rpif/gene-shoemaker) Gene Shoemaker , was (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077929/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/burying-man-moon/#.WX-T8ITyvcs) crashed into the moon in 1999 on a NASA craft, as part of the space agency's (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/prospector/overview/index.shtml) Lunar Prospector Mission to better understand the moon's evolution.
Several unmanned spacecraft, like NASA's Lunar Prospector, JAXA Kaguya and India's Chandrayaan-1 have taken a special interest in the regions of magnetic anomalies.
The website also has data from past lunar programs and missions, including Apollo, Lunar Orbiter, Lunar Prospector, Clementine, Kaguya (Japan), and Chandrayaan-1 (India)--and this includes images; digital elevation and gravity models; hazard assessment maps detailing slope, surface roughness, and crater and boulder distribution; and resource maps indicating, for instance, soil maturity and the presence and abundance of hydrogen and other elements.
The NASA Lunar Prospector's neutron data had suggested several hundred million metric tonnes of water ice on the moon.
In 1998, Nasa's Lunar Prospector mission was deliberately crashed into a crater, which confirmed the presence of hydrogen, which may or may not have come from ancient stores of frozen water deposited in lunar craters over billions of years by passing comets.
Their findings are based on a new computer analysis of data from the Lunar Prospector, a space probe sent to the moon in 1998 by Nasa.
Launched in 1998 by an Athena solid-fueled vehicle, the NASA Lunar Prospector continued the trend toward small, highly capable lunar spacecraft and relatively low mission costs.
Ha llazgos previos hechos con las sondas Clementine y Lunar Prospector parecian haber confirmado a presencia de hielo, pero han surgido dudas sobre la confiabilidad de los metodos utilizados.