Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Visual sequence from LCROSS

The view of the Moon from thousands of miles north, looking down and to the left during a brief, hour-long science opportunity was given access to telemetry and guidance bandwidth. The encounter that sped up LCROSS "under" the south pole, altered its vector north and away from the mid-day sun over the Far Side had occurred nearly two hours before.

Some complained of the over-exposed Far Side, though the visible light camera, at one frame per second, was tuned to bring out the dimmer and shadowed relief of the sunrise terminator. The eye acquainted the Moon's feature could easily pick out the Sea of Moscow, however, and washed out in this image, Mendeleev, a second among the fifty highest priority future human landing sites, was visible in others in the range of LCROSS instruments.

Like LCROSS, the Moon had continuing to move on its ancient orbit, to the "left" in this view, more of the southern hemisphere, Mare Marginis and the lava filled crater Goddard. The encounter came at New Moon. The Moon and LRO part company with LCROSS, whose next encounter October 9 will be arrived at from below.

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