Until very recently, scientists thought that water could not exist on the surface of the Moon. With almost no atmosphere, the Moon is drier than the driest desert on Earth! Yet despite this harsh environment, scientists have discovered water in special places on the Moon - and there’s much more than previously imagined! The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) uncovered strong evidence for water ice deep within the permanently shadowed regions of craters at the Moon’s South Pole. The twin impacts of the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission confirmed LRO’s findings by (intentionally) impacting the Moon’s surface with the two sections of the spacecraft; the impacts blasted grains of mostly pure water ice above the lunar surface.
Visit http://365daysofastronomy.org/2012/02/0 ... osty-moon/ to hear a podcast with Dr. Randy Gladstone about this topic. (Participants in the Jupiter's Family Secrets workshops in Kentucky and Missouri in 2010 may recognize Dr. Gladstone as one of our guest presenters!)
Check out the activity Ice Zones: Where We Look for Ice for a fun way to engage 8-13-year-olds on this topic (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explo ... /iceZones/).