Lunar Prospector spacecraft

Lunar Prospector spacecraft

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Credit: NASA-HQ-GRIN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Lunar Prospector spacecraft. The spacecraft (top) is shown here in a clean room during preparations for its flight. It is on top of the Trans Lunar Injection Module, which was used to take it from Earth orbit to the Moon. It was launched on 7 January 1998, and spent 19 months orbiting the Moon. It mapped the surface composition of the Moon, looked for polar ice deposits, and took measurements of the Moon's magnetic and gravitational fields. On 31 July 1999, the Lunar Prospector was deliberately crashed into the Moon near its South Pole, in an unsuccessful attempt to detect water ice deposits.

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