NSS Hails NASA Contract for Lunar Data Analysis
Washington, DC October 20, 1999 - The National Space Society today lauded the release of a $2.971 million NASA research contract to further analyze data from the Lunar Prospector mission that discovered water ice on the Moon. "Our efforts of the last year to convince NASA officials of the need to make funding available for these studies have succeeded," NSS Executive Director Pat Dasch said Wednesday. "This is a major step forward in understanding the Moon and for any future permanent facility to be established on the lunar surface," Dasch added.
NASA awarded the contract Tuesday to the Lunar Research Institute of Tucson, Arizona. The organization was founded and is headed by Dr. Alan Binder, who was also the Lunar Prospector Mission Director and its Principle Investigator. Binder's institute, created in 1996, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration of the Moon. The two-year NASA contract will study and analyze the probe's global mapping data and produce detailed, highly accurate maps of the surface composition of the Moon, its magnetic fields, and the location of deposits of polar water ice. All of the data products generated from the NASA work will be made available to the scientific community as well as the public.
Dasch said that NSS remained committed to seeing the dissemination of Lunar Prospector data to the widest possible audience. "This information is key to designing settlements or scientific facilities there," Dasch predicted. Scientific studies of the Moon and future lunar research efforts should be given greater emphasis within NASA, according to Dasch. "It's highly appropriate that NASA hear the voices of the professional communities and make this study a higher priority," she said.
The National Space Society, celebrating 25 years of space advocacy, is an independent nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 20,000 members worldwide actively promote a spacefaring civilization living and working in thriving communities beyond the earth. Information on NSS and space exploration is available at http://www.nss.org