Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Strange Brew at LCROSS's Crash Site

Kelly Beatty
Sky & Telescope

"So far, the LCROSS team has been mum on what's been found by the shepherd craft's nine instruments, apart from a heavily processed composite image showing a faint puff where the Centaur crashed."

"Tony Colaprete, LCROSS's chief scientist, says that the rocket's impact created a pit about 92 feet (28 meters) across, close to expectations."

"Colaprete says some of these findings will be made public in a couple of weeks. (Don't be surprised if he announces that one of the spectrometers did, indeed, detect water in the plume.)"

"(the) strongest and most intriguing observation came (from the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project, or LAMP) at the ultraviolet wavelength of 184-185 nanometers. Gladstone says the only known elements able to create that line are iron, perhaps magnesium … and mercury. "Both mercury and iron still look like the best bets for explaining the plume emission we see with LAMP," Gladstone reiterates, though the spectral match is still tentative and more data-crunching is in progress."

"Liquid mercury on the Moon? Really?"
Read the story, HERE.

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