The Lunar Prospector with solar panels attached
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Another Giant Leap for Mankind...
News story originally written on January 7, 1998

The Lunar Prospector is on its way to the Moon after a perfect launch yesterday. The launch of the Lunar Prospector had been delayed one day because of a radar failure.

It will take the Prospector four and a half days to reach the Moon. This mission is NASA's first mission to the Moon since Apollo 17, so this really is another giant leap for mankind! Apollo 17 was the last mission where men walked on the Moon - 25 years ago.

The Prospector spacecraft carries with it one ounce of Gene Shoemaker's ashes. They were placed in a cylindrical container, wrapped with an inscription honoring Shoemaker's life. Shoemaker, who died on July 18, 1997, discovered (with the help of his wife Carolyn and colleague David Levy) the Shoemaker-Levy comet.

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