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US to Launch Moon Probes

By VOA News
18 June 2009

The U.S. space agency NASA is set to launch probes to the moon Thursday to search for water sources and landing sites in preparation for man's return to the moon.

NASA will launch two robotic moon probes on an unmanned rocket from Cape Canaveral in the southeastern state of Florida Thursday evening.

A NASA statement said a reconnaissance robot, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, will help identify safe landing sites for future human explorers, locate potential resources, check on radiation levels, and test new technology.

The agency said an observation probe, a Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, will search for a definitive answer about the presence of water ice at the lunar poles.

NASA scientists said the data gathered by the probes will help advance future human exploration of the solar system.

Twice in the last week NASA has postponed a space mission by the U.S. shuttle Endeavour because of a hydrogen gas leak.

The Endeavour is set to travel to the International Space Station where astronauts will install a science module.

The next opportunity for a shuttle launch is July 11.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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