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The Lunar Prospector Mission

Mission Overview

Lunar Prospector was one of the NASA Discovery Program missions. It was designed to perform a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon. This included mapping the surface composition and locating lunar resources, measuring magnetic and gravity fields, and studying outgassing events. The data from this mission, which carried only scientific instruments, complemented the image data from the Clementine mission, which carried mostly cameras. The information gathered will improve the understanding of the origin, evolution, and current state of the Moon. The mission was launched January 6, 1998, from Cape Canaveral using a Lockheed Martin LMLV2 rocket.

Prospector Instruments

The mission carried a complement of five instruments to map the lunar surface. The instruments were all designed to collect scientific data; there were no cameras. One additional experiment, the Doppler Gravity Experiment, used the spacecraft itself as an instrument. Brief descriptions of the instruments and the gravity experiment are provided below.

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