In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

Lunar Prospector, NASA Probe, Discovery of Polar Water Ice

Like Clementine 1, Lunar Prospector was built quickly and cheaply. Mission cost was just $63 million. The entire process of development to completion and testing was accomplished in less than 2 years. When full of fuel, the spacecraft weighed only 295 kg (650 lb). That's much less than your car -- an average size car weighs about four times that much. Lunar Prospector carried five instruments to study the moon, and the spacecraft was largely made from off-the-shelf, flight-proven hardware -- used whenever feasible. Lunar Prospector launched in January, 1998, almost exactly 4 years after the launch of Clementine.

Lunar Prospector's five sensors included a Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) and a Neutron Spectrometer (NS) to provide global maps of elemental abundances on the lunar surface (in addition to water). The NS sensor can detect traces of water down to 10 parts per million (PPM), though it found vastly higher concentrations than that. The data also reports on the mapping of the global distribution of major rock types, key resources and trace elements in all other places on the Moon.

The data from Clementine 1 and Lunar Prospector made obsolete much of the data from previous lunar orbiters, but does not make obsolete the data from the Apollo samples and other imaging and geophysical data from other landers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Data from all the lunar probes, including the massive amounts of detailed data from Clementine 1 and Lunar Prospector, are open to the public and can be acquired by internet at the NASA National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) at or ordered on CD-ROMs.

This very important page is set for an update in April 2012.

There is an excellent book by the Lunar Prospector Probe's initial creator, manager, mission director, and Principal Investigator, Dr. Alan Binder, which gives an 1181 page personal story and diary of the entire process, from the time he developed the idea in the late 1980s, to the various fundraising efforts, which were unsuccessful for years, the politics of space advocacy organizations, government, and the chosen government contractor (much of it dirty politics in all three realms), various personalities involved, the eventual funding, and the good, the bad, and the ugly of the entire program, which was eventually successful in large part due to the many battles Dr. Binder fought tirelessly. Dr. Binder also shows how we can dramatically reduce the cost of these probes, as the Lunar Prospector probe cost only $ 63 million. (I've read about a third of this book, and my friend Sam Fraser here in Thailand borrowed my copy and read all 1183 pages.) If you want to learn a lot about the realities of what's required for success in this industry, this is highly recommended reading. You can order it at Amazon.

External links:

Lunar Prospector on wikipedia

Lunar Prospector data downloadable here

Dr. Binder's book on Lunar Prospector, at Amazon > Lunar Resources (Mining The Moon) > Probes, History and Future > Lunar Prospector


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

The Permanent Space Development Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
If you would like to make a quick donation to our humanistic cause,
then please click on one of the buttons below (which go to PayPal).

... or by cryptocurrency (which is NOT tax deductible), you can donate into any of these wallets:





... or ...

Suggest this website to other people and organizations.

To get updates on PERMANENT (occasional, not frequent), get on our mailing list.

For general or specific e-mail regarding PERMANENT, please use our Feedback page.

Leave information about yourself in our people, companies, and organizations database.

If you are interested in hiring our expertise, anywhere in the world, please contact us.
We have people in the USA and Thailand, and can travel or consult by internet.
You can call anytime, 24/7, at +66-8-1135-7977

Text by Mark Prado, Copyright © 1983-2021, All Rights Reserved.
Many website artistic design elements by Sam Fraser, Copyright © 1999-2021, All Rights Reserved.

Except where specifically stated otherwise,
Copyright © 1983-2021 by Mark Evan Prado, All Rights Reserved


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