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

NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and LCROSS Polar Crater Impactor

The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) are two different satellites which were launched together and sent to the moon in 2009 on two very different trajectories.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's mission includes mapping the Moon's surface, with detailed 3D topology, in support of future manned missions. In addition, the LRO measured the radiation environment globally, so that we can design to protect humans and other life stationed there. Surface temperatures were also measured. Instruments included detectors to help measure the quantity and distribution of water ice, and cameras to take detailed photos of the surface.

The LRO went into a polar orbit and descended to an altitude of 50 km. This mission was very successful.

Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was designed to impact a permanently shadowed crater in the south pole region in order to kick up material for inspection to measure the quantity and types of volatiles which may be frozen there. LCROSS consisted of a spent fuel tank to kick up the material (its Centaur upper stage), plus a small second satellite called The Shepherding Spacecraft to fly thru the debris four minutes later to make close up measurements and quickly report the results before it impacted itself very shortly thereafter.

LCROSS was put into a very different orbit from LRO. LCROSS was put into a high polar Earth orbit at nearly the same distance as the Moon, and oriented to come down onto the Moon's pole at a steep angle.

The Cabeus crater near the Moon's south pole was chosen for the impact experiment, and the results confirmed the presence of water (ice) in the lunar pole, confirming the findings of the Clementine and Lunar Prospector missions. Estimates of the concentrate were roughly 6% (officially 5.6% plus or minus 2.9%).

The plumes of both impacts actually consisted of much less material than expected. There had been a major public relations campaign saying that it would be visible using moderately sized telescopes from Earth, but this turned out to not be the case. Nonetheless, the plume was large enough for scientific instruments to measure the water composition.

In December, 2010, a topographic map of the Moon was released to the public, which became the most detailed map of the Moon. Resolution is 100 meters per pixel. The LRO continues to send data back.

Notably, the LRO collected more data than all other planetary missions combined to date, 192 terabytes, because the LRO has a dedicated ground station rather than needing to share time on NASA's Deep Space Network, and also because the Moon is close to us.

External links:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA GSFC

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA mission

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on wikipedia

LCROSS NASA Project Site


LCROSS on wikipedia > Lunar Resources (Mining The Moon) > Probes, History and Future > LRO and LCROSS


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.

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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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