Paul Spudis discusses the recent LCROSS findings:
The LCROSS team’s published data from the mission reveals a cold witches’ brew deep inside Cabeus crater. The finding of significant lunar water has confirmed data from earlier missions, while the ejecta plume from the LCROSS impact reveals more modest amounts of a variety of other substances. The Near-IR spectrometers on the LCROSS shepherding satellite detected abundant water (H2O) but also hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), methanol (CH3OH), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The uv-vis spectrometer found carbon dioxide (CO2), sodium, silver, and cyanide (CN). Aboard the distant LRO spacecraft, the ultraviolet LAMP imager detected hydrogen (H2), nitrogen, carbon monoxide (CO), sodium, mercury, zinc, gold (!), and calcium. But water, present in quantities between 5 and 10 weight percent, is the most abundant volatile substance present.
One of the many travesties of Constellation is that, in attempting to redo Apollo, it ate up all the funding for serious preparatory exploration of the moon that would have provided a lot better guidance to requirements for human lunar activities. Compared to what we previously thought, the moon seems to be a veritable rain forest in terms of water quantities and densities, with other useful volatiles as well.