Confirmation of "a lot"[*] of H2O on Luna announced by 1998-07-06.
This claim will be judged TRUE if, by 1998-07-06, NASA or associated scientists announce new[*] evidence of "a lot"[*] of H2O on the Moon, FALSE otherwise. [*]"new": data collected after 1998-01-01. [*] "a lot": a region over at least 50 square kilometers that averages at least 1 part in 200 of H2O.
Background: I arbitrarily picked the quantity to be roughly 1/4 the quantity suggested by the Clementine mission. The lunar soils examined on the Apollo missions (near the Moon's equator) had less than 50 parts per million (ppm) H2O.
"Lunar Prospector was launched to the Moon, Jan. 6th, 1998. Within a month it will begin returning answers to long-standing questions about the Moon ... The first and most exciting data returned will answer the question first raised in the early seventies and underscored by the 1994 Clementine mission: Is there water in the form of ice in some polar craters ?" http://lunar.arc.nasa.gov/project/
"Several passes over the surface ... may be required to ... be sure they have found water. However, ... the spacecraft will pass over the poles every orbit, while it passes over any given region on the equator only a few times a month. Thus the NS will produce more accurate data in the polar regions -- precisely where the water is thought to be. If water is present in the amounts suggested by the Clementine mission, the NS should be able to detect it, possibly within a month." http://lunar.arc.nasa.gov/science/neutron.html
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?98-001A-02 http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/ice/ice_moon.html http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/33796_961203-D-0000O-001.html http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec96/m120396_m253-96.html http://users.visi.net/~cwt/moon-ice.html
Considering it took about a year to analyze the Clementine data (according to http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec96/t120496_t1203moo.html ), one is also betting on how quickly the results are made public.
Ambiguity clause: I will judge this claim based on its precise wording, unless this wording conflicts with my perception of the intent of the claim. If both intent and wording are ambiguous, I will look for a solution that causes the least damage to FX as a market and game. If you have any questions, or think you may have found a loophole, please contact me!!
Rumors about Prospector results are rampant at the moment, both for and against water having been found. The Prospector team is advising "not to believe the rumors either way", and says an official announcement will be made at a news conference on March 5. See http://cnn.com/TECH/space/9802/19/lunar.ice/index.html
1998/03/05: The Lunar Prospector team has announced their initial results: between 0.3 and 1 % water ice, over 10,000-50,000 square kilometers at the North Pole, and 5,000-20,000 square kilometers at the South Pole. See http://lunar.arc.nasa.gov/status/mar98/week1/03051500.html. This is not yet sufficient to judge the claim TRUE! However, these results are based on only one month of observations, and can be expected to improve as more data is collected.