Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lunar Prospector - Now eight years past - What next?

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The lunar-update list was started back in 1998 to report on the
weekly status of the Lunar Prospector mission as the spacecraft orbited
the Moon in a polar orbit.

During the extended six month mission in 1999, I had taken over the job
of sending the post out for Marcie Smith. After Lunar Prospector ended
the mission with an adjustment to put the spacecraft into a crater at
the lunar south pole to see if enough heat might be generated to make
some steam, I had the job of reporting periodically that none was seen.
- LRK -

News Resource Archive
"Lunar Prospector has given us new eyes to look at the solar system"

In answering questions about the Lunar Prospector mission and other
topics that were space related, the list continued to get posted. When
NASA said there was no more money to pay for me to have fun talking to
you folks, Jeff Marraccini said he could put the list on one of their
list servers at his place of employment, and now we are in the middle of
July, 2007 and Lunar Prospector's signal has been quiet since July 31,

Jeff mentioned that they installed some new spam software for the list
server and I have had a question about a SPAM notice on my last post and
whether I had generated it.

I sometimes get carried away with information about books and
publications and maybe that triggered a SPAM alert. My apologies if I
did so.

If you think you might have missed a lunar-update post because you have
tightened up on your filters, you can always get a clean post at the
lunar-update archive:

Of late I have been copying my posts here to this blog site as well (when I
remember to).

I must admit that my posts to the lunar-update list are rather sporadic
and are mostly generated as a result of emails I get from you folks.
Your inputs with things happening are much appreciated as well as
questions about , "What was I thinking of when I posted......"

In looking up information about these items, I learn a lot and have
tried to share some of that with the rest of you.

If you want to see more posts, feel free to e-mail me directly with your
questions and inputs.
(larry.kellogg AT

If you don't like what I am doing, tell me that too.
(The list had about 3600 readers during the Lunar Prospector mission and
is now down to 839 so may have stepped on some toes or was just boring. :-)

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is supposed to launch late next
year, 2008. That should give us more to talk about.
- LRK -
April 24,2007 - The assembly of LRO instruments has begun. On its way to
assembly, LRO has recently made an important pit stop to a place called
FlatSat. Before any of the electrical components are assembled on the
spacecraft bus, they must be checked and double-checked to assure that
they can communicate with one another.

A few links below in memory of Lunar Prospector.

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:

Some pictures at

Some Lunar Base pictures you have alerted me to. TNX
- LRK -
Lunar Prospector Mission
Lunar Prospector was one of the NASA Discovery Program missions. It was
designed to perform a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon. This
included mapping the surface composition and locating lunar resources,
measuring magnetic and gravity fields, and studying outgassing events.
The data from this mission, which carried only scientific instruments,
complemented the image data from the Clementine mission, which carried
mostly cameras. The information gathered will improve the understanding
of the origin, evolution, and current state of the Moon. The mission was
launched January 6, 1998, from Cape Canaveral using a Lockheed Martin
LMLV2 rocket.
Lunar Prospector - from Wikepedia

The *Lunar Prospector* mission was the third selected by NASA for full
development and construction as part of the Discovery Program
<>. At a cost of $62.8
million, the 19-month mission was designed for a low polar orbit
investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition and
possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic
<> and gravity
<> fields, and study of lunar
outgassing events. The mission ended July 31, 1999 when the orbiter was
deliberately crashed into a crater near the lunar south pole in an
unsuccessful attempt to detect the presence of water.

Data from the mission allowed the construction of a detailed map of the
surface composition of the Moon, and helped to improve understanding of
the origin, evolution, current state, and resources of the Moon. A
series of articles on the scientific results were published in the
journal /Science/ (Science Volume 281 Issue 5382

The Principal Investigator for the mission was Dr. Alan Binder. His
personal account of the mission "Against all Odds" (published in 2005 by
KenPress, ISBN 1-928771-31-9
is highly critical of the bureaucracy of NASA and its contractors.

Lunar Prospector Spectrometers

Welcome to the Lunar Prospector Web Page at the Los Alamos National

At Los Alamos we have built the three spectrometers which are currently
taking measurements around the Moon from the Lunar Prospector (LP)
Spacecraft. Since LP launch on January 6, 1998, we are reducing and
analyzing data from the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer, from the Neutron
Spectrometer and from the Alpha Particle Spectrometer.

You will find here information about the Lunar Prospector Spectrometers
and the latest available results. You will also be able to view and
download data files.

Lunar Prospector - PDS Geosciences Node

January 31, 2006. A new spherical harmonic model has been added:

June 2, 2005. New GRS and NS reduced data sets have been posted. These
data sets have not yet completed PDS peer review.

February 10, 2005. New ancillary files have been added to the LOS
Gravity volumes.

February 2, 2005. More spherical harmonic models have been added:
JGL100K1, JGL150Q1, and JGL165P1.

Lunar Prospector (LP) was a spin-stabilized spacecraft, operating in a
100 km circular, polar orbit around the Moon during its Primary Mission
in 1998. The orbit was lowered to 30 km for the Extended Mission that
began in January 1999. The mission ended on July 31, 1999, when the
spacecraft was targeted to impact a crater near the lunar south pole to
try to vaporize part of the suspected water deposits.

The science goals of LP were to map the Moon's surface composition and
its magnetic and gravity fields, to determine the frequency and location
of gas release events, and to search for polar ice deposits. To meet
these objectives, LP had five science instruments located on three
booms: a gamma ray spectrometer, a neutron spectrometer, an alpha
particle spectrometer, a magnetometer, and an electron reflectometer. In
addition, Doppler tracking data was used to derive gravity measurements.

The preliminary science results from Lunar Prospector have been
published in the September 4, 1998 issue of Science. Also, a detailed
description of the Lunar Prospector spacecraft is available in the LP
Mission Handbook document (Adobe Acrobat format file; 760 KB).



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