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[b]NASA taps astronomy community to help search for lunar water[/b]
NASA's [URL=http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/]Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite[/URL] (LCROSS) is scheduled to launch with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as LRO, aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in late 2008. After launch, the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Atlas V's Centaur upper stage rocket will fly by the moon and enter an elongated Earth orbit to position themselves for a rapid descent into a permanently shadowed crater near the moon's south pole.
On final approach, the instrument-laden spacecraft and the upper stage will separate. They will hit the lunar surface about four minutes apart. The spacecraft will fly through the Centaur debris plume and collect data before its own impact. The LCROSS impacts are expected to be visible from Earth using 10-to-12 inch and larger telescopes.
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