NOVEMBER 24, 2009--Preliminary data captured via shortwave-infrared (SWIR) cameras have been used by NASA scientists to determine the presence of water on the moon. During a historic mission on Oct. 9, 2009, a NASA rocket was launched into a crater near the moon's south pole. Images from the www.sensorsinc.com) SWIR cameras showed evidence of water in the post-crash debris plume.
The lunar crash was part of NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission to search for water on the moon. Two Goodrich SWIR cameras -- referred to by NASA as "near infrared" -- were part of the payload aboard the spacecraft, along with the Centaur rocket that was hurled onto the moon's surface. Images of the vapor and debris plume created by the rocket's impact were recorded by the SWIR cameras and were analyzed to determine the presence of water on the moon.
Because SWIR imaging can detect moisture contrast through dust, smoke, and fog, the LCROSS crash incident was accurately recorded for precise study of the debris cloud. SWIR technology detects reflected light at wavelengths that the human eye cannot see, in wavelength bands between visible and thermal cameras.
-- Posted by Carrie Meadows, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com