The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is proud to announce the selection for funding of four proposals for scientific activities to be carried out under the LCROSS Observation Campaign. The Observation Campaign is part of the NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) project which is designed to verify the presence or absence of water ice on the Moon. Scheduled for launch in 2009, the LCROSS project, along with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), will be an important stepping stone in realizing NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration, including a return to the Moon and travel to Mars and beyond. The current LCROSS mission plan calls for a payload to impact a shaded area of the moon and for a complement of both space- and ground-based observations of the resulting ejecta plume. The four selected proposals will all provide ground-based observations and associated data analysis.

Working with both NASA’s Ames Research Center and Marshall Space Flight Center, USRA issued a call for proposals for observation activities in September 2008. All compliant proposals received were subjected to a rigorous review based on specific criteria and the four successful proposals are listed below.

  • “Accessing LCROSS Ejecta: Water Vapor and Particle Size and Composition from Keck, Gemini, and the IRFT Telescopes,” Southwest Research Institute, Dr. Eliot Young (Principle Investigator).
  • “LCROSS Lunar Plume Observations with the Apache Point Observatory,” New Mexico State University, Dr. Nancy Chanover (Principle Investigator).
  • “Multi-spectral Imaging of the LCROSS Impact,” Southwest Research Institute, Dr. Marc Buie (Principle Investigator).
  • “Searching for Polar Water Ice During the LCROSS Impact Using the MMT Observatory,” University of Arizona, Dr. Faith Vilas (Principle Investigator).

“Everyone involved in the selection process was very pleased at the high quality of the submissions that we received,” observed Dr. Frank Curran, Director of USRA’s Huntsville Operations and USRA’s coordinator for the selection process. “We are proud to be a part of the process that will enable these very important observations and look forward to working with the Principal Investigators and our NASA counterparts to ensure a success in the observation campaign.”

About USRA

The Universities Space Research Association, established in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences, is a private, nonprofit consortium of 102 universities offering advanced degrees in space- and aeronautics-related disciplines. USRA’s mission is to conduct leading-edge research, develop innovative technologies, promote education and policy across the breadth of space science, and operate premier science and technology facilities by involving universities, private industry and government.