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Deliberate crash of an empty rocket stage in a permanently shadowed crater near the moon's south pole last month kicked up definitive signs of water ice, scientists say.
In a brute-force search for lunar ice, NASA sent two spacecraft crashing to the moon Friday in a $79 million attempt to blast out suspected ice-bearing soil for detailed analysis.
NASA managers clear shuttle Endeavour for a second launch try Wednesday, delaying launch of a high-priority lunar mapping mission to make room.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was maneuvered into a 31-mile-high mapping orbit Tuesday, and scientists say it's already providing data about possible water ice deposits.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches two NASA spacecraft toward the moon for a $583 million mission to scout out landing sites and look for hidden ice.
The space agency thinks ice on the moon could be the key to an outpost that smoothes the path to Mars. But funding could be a bigger barrier than physics.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter brakes into its initial orbit with a successful 40-minute rocket firing that sets the stage for commissioning and moon mapping operations.
Recent data from three spacecraft provide clear evidence of lunar water, while a Mars orbiter discovers huge ice sheets buried on the Red Planet.
Data gathered from NASA radar aboard an Indian spacecraft indicate that more than 40 of the moon's craters, permanently in shadows, contain as much as 600 million cubic meters of ice.
Data from NASA's Messenger spacecraft bolsters the case that ice lines the inside of polar craters on Mercury.