NASA Rocket to Crash Moon, Searching for Ice

If there is frozen water there -- H2O -- it could be used for drinking, or broken down into its components of hydrogen and oxygen for fuel, air to breathe, and myriad other uses.

Exploring on a Budget

LCROSS, by NASA standards, is a low-cost mission, with a fixed budget of $79 million -- a good chunk of money, but remember that the movie "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" has grossed about $400 million since its release in June.

There has been long debate over the merits of sending astronauts back to the moon, 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, the flight director. He added that Friday, impact day, is his birthday.

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