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LCROSS finds water on Moon after Chandrayaan: NASA

LCROSS - Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite

WASHINGTON (PTI): Two months after India's maiden Chandrayaan-I mission discovered traces of water on Moon, NASA said it has found "significant amounts" of water ice on its surface, a finding that could trigger a hunt for life in outer space and boost hopes for a permanent lunar base.

"Indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn't find just a little bit, we found a significant amount," Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Centre at Moffett Field, California, said on Saturday.

NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) probe 'bombarded' the lunar south pole at a crater called Cabeus on October nine.

"In the 20 to 30 metre crater we found may be about a dozen, at least, two-gallon buckets of water. This is an initial result," Colaprete said.

The USD 79 million spacecraft, preceded by its Centaur rocket stage, hit the lunar surface in an effort to create a debris plume that could be analysed by scientists for signs of water ice.

"The argument that the moon is a dry, desolate place no longer holds water. Secrets the moon has been holding, for perhaps billions of years, are now being revealed to the delight of scientists and space enthusiasts alike," the space agency said in a statement.

Scientists are mulling over the idea of establishing a lunar base that would help in interplanetary missions and space exploration.

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