Monday, August 17, 2009

LCROSS Observation Group prepares

Digital conception of one very brief moment on the southern high latitudes of the Moon, on the morning of Oct. 9, 2009. The towering massifs around the lunar South Pole are momentarily backlit by a flash of light, produced by the kinetic energy of the guided Centaur upper-stage portion of the LCROSS mission slamming into one of six finalist target craters. Spectrography of the debris curtain, rising into sunlight from permanent darkness may show a signature of water vapor, definitively marking the source of a proven, disproportionate level of hydrogen at the lunar poles detected by Clementine (1994) and Lunar Prospector (1998). Though the event will not be visible in the most populated areas of the Western Hemisphere, eyes near and far will be watching. Among those who've long prepared for the event are members of the LCROSS Observation Group. An on-going and rich discussion of lunar orbital dynamics and sun angles has been underway, in close cooperation with NASA, for a number of years.

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