Why does it matter if there's ice there? Because NASA's current mandate, laid out by President Bush and so far backed by President Obama, is to use the moon as a base for human exploration of Mars and beyond. As part of Project Constellation, they would set up camp in their Altair landing ships. If there is frozen water there -- H2O -- it can be used for drinking, or broken down into its components of hydrogen and oxygen for fuel, air to breathe, and myriad other uses.
LCROSS, by NASA standards, is a low-cost mission, with a fixed budget of $79 million -- a good chunk of money, but remember that "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" grossed about $160 million in its first five days.
One can debate the merits of sending astronauts back to the moon (and you're invited to make a comment below), but if LCROSS finds water, it will make the lives of future astronauts much simpler.
"It's a pretty simple mission with profound implications," said Hunt, who is scheduled to be in charge at the key moment. He added that Oct. 9, impact day, is his birthday.