NASA's sampling of a plume of material from a dark crater turns up water on the moon – and other organic compounds, too.
With moon bombing mission over, NASA is sifting data to learn if polar craters hold water.
Two pieces of a NASA spacecraft – not bombs – will crash into the moon early Friday morning, hoping to kick up evidence of water ice at the bottom of a frigid south pole crater.
Three probes, including a NASA instrument on India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, have detected water molecules in minerals on the moon's surface.
Craters may hold evidence of Earth's history, and frozen ices at their floors could be valuable resources for lunar explorers.
With dedication and good timing, amateur astronomers have helped track asteroids and search for planets. NASA is enlisting some for a moon observation mission.
The mission to gather data needed to put humans on the moon again launches Thursday evening. It includes slamming a satellite craft into the bottom of a lunar crater.
The delayed launch of Endeavour – caused by a fuel tank leak similar to one that delayed the shuttle Discovery in March – also bumps the launch of a moon reconnaissance mission to Thursday.