Why not Hubble?
If SMART-1 can get an eyeful, why not use the Hubble space telescope to take photos of the Apollo landing sites? Hubble did photograph the Moon, in
"Anything left on the Moon cannot be resolved in any Hubble image," According to the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates Hubble for
NASA. "It would just appear as a dot."
Meanwhile, the trickiest task that the SMART-1 scientists have set themselves is to use a spacecraft spectrometer to look for the infrared signature
of water ice, and perhaps frozen carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide too. Previous missions have provided evidence for water ice tucked away in
permanently shadowed polar craters.
Any water on the lunar surface would be very helpful in the creation of permanent bases on the Moon, as outlined last year by President Bush. Other
nations have Moon plans, too.
But to have survived, the water must be in the form of ice in places always hidden from the Sun. Such dark places exist, notably in the bottoms of
small craters in the Moon’s polar regions.