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Moon Space NASA Science

NASA To Trigger Massive Explosion On the Moon In Search of Ice 376

Posted by timothy
from the smashing-darling-smashing dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "NASA is preparing to launch the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which will fly a Centaur rocket booster into the moon, triggering a six-mile-high explosion that scientists hope will confirm whether water is frozen in the perpetual darkness of craters near the moon's south pole. If the spacecraft launches on schedule at 12:51 p.m. Wednesday, it will hit the moon in the early morning hours of October 8 after an 86-day Lunar Gravity-Assist, Lunar Return Orbit that will allow the spacecraft time to complete its two-month commissioning phase and conduct nearly a month of science data collection of polar crater measurements before colliding with the moon just 10 minutes behind the Centaur." (Continues, below.)
"The cloud from the Centaur rocket booster will kick up 350 metric tons of debris that should spread six miles above the surface of the moon, hitting the sunlight and making it visible to amateur astronomers across North America. Over the final four minutes of its existence, as LCROSS follows the same terminal trajectory as the Centaur, the spacecraft will train its instruments and cameras on the debris cloud, searching it for the chemical signature of water. Previous spacecraft and ground-based instruments have detected signs of hydrogen near the moon's poles, and scientists are split over whether that is from ice that could have arrived through the impact of comets or by other means. Despite all the serious scientific talk about hydrogen signatures and lunar regolith, flying a rocket booster into the moon at 5,600 mph to trigger a massive explosion is just flat-out cool. 'We're certainly going to be making a big splash,' says Kimberly Ennico, the LCROSS payload scientist. 'We're going to see something, but I don't know what to expect. I know on the night of the impact, I'll be running on adrenaline.'"
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NASA To Trigger Massive Explosion On the Moon In Search of Ice

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  • Nonsense (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:15PM (#28348759) Journal

    They are using explosives to write NASA in the moon for all people to see. You won't succeed where Chairface failed!

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) * on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:17PM (#28348789)
    am I the only one who thinks we should blow everything up *here* before we start blowing everything up elsewhere?
    • Yeah, we are earthlings, let's blow earth things first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scottj31 (637960)
      They are preparing, apparently, for when we have blown everything up here and need somewhere else to go. But actually I think this is part of NASA's 'constant contact' plan, like the election, when McCain kept saying outrageous stuff just to keep himself in the news. I have been leery of NASA since they did their horrendously offensive dog-and-pony show about the Martian meteorite/life on Mars thing. Does the moon belong to us? Do we have the right to blow it up? It seems like an expensive schoolboy stunt.
    • by jo42 (227475)

      blow everything up

      That opening scene in 2001 with the apes smashing the cr*p out of everything is just so apropos to the human 'being'...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      am I the only one who thinks we should blow everything up *here* before we start blowing everything up elsewhere?

      Hell no! There's a whole lot more elsewhere than there is here. I say we ban all explosions on the earth until we have blown the rest of the Universe up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Atrox666 (957601)

      I think they are just looking for someplace the US can bomb without getting their Yankee asses kicked (again). Iran and N Korea seem like bad ideas. Afghanistan and Iraq were bad ideas all along. Vietnam and Cuba didn't exactly work out either.
      Lets hope there aren't little green men because they'd probably kick your ass too.

      • Mooninites (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kenshin (43036)

        It might not be a good idea to anger the Mooninites. Their Quad Laser is quite an effective weapon, you know.

    • Re:Is it just me or (Score:5, Informative)

      by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @01:37PM (#28350301) Journal

      We have the technology. The time is now. Science can wait no longer. Children are our future. American can, should, must, and will blow up the moon.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdT2HqoV198 [youtube.com]

  • Oh yea, remember that 2002 or whatever make of The Time Machine? With the fragmented moon? Lets just hope this time it doesn't come crashing down on Earth.
    • by SGDarkKnight (253157) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:36PM (#28349151)

      Oh yea, remember that 2002 or whatever make of The Time Machine? With the fragmented moon? Lets just hope this time it doesn't come crashing down on Earth.

      Well, technically it didn't come crashing down on the earth, the explosions they created for the lunar colony caused the moon to drop out of its natural orbit, which in turn has massive gravational effects on earth that more or less started tearing apart the continants, forcing people to make a decision to either try and survive on the surface, or retreat underground for their survival.

  • Raping the moon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pzs (857406) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:17PM (#28348813)

    I really can't tell if this article [examiner.com] is serious or not.

    • Re:Raping the moon (Score:4, Insightful)

      by raddan (519638) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:33PM (#28349089)
      Since Satya Harvey is listed as the "SF Astrology Examiner" I think it is likely that she is serious. She also posted a follow up [examiner.com].

      In her follow-up, she explains that she does not think that science is the only way that knowledge is revealed to people. She is entitled to her opinion, of course, but that does not mean that we have to agree with or respect it. The beauty of science is that it is something of an amorphous blob. If it turns out that astrology does reveal things about the universe that current science cannot observe, science will hungrily scoop it up and make it a part of itself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Go check out her website [oldsoulwakeupcalls.com] if you want a clue.

      • by pzs (857406)

        "Step into your fullness - the world needs you to be all you can be. Wake up. You are being called to reconnect with your true self. More then ever before, it is a critical time to follow the feelings already awakening within and realize your greatest potential."

        Yikes.

    • From the link:

      In many traditions, including astrology, the moon represents the feminine. It is the yin, the intuitive, the emotions. Women are connected to the moon by their menstrual cycles while they are fertile, and all beings, including the earth herself, are affected by the pull of the tides.

      I prefer to call both Moon and Earth 'it'.

  • WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by No2Gates (239823)

    We are in a financial crisis, and the government wants to see if there is ice on the moon? There's plenty on this planet. I can make some for you in my freezer and you can save 20 billion dollars.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer (890720)
      Blah blah blah, we're in a financial crisis, yada yada yada.

      I'm sick of the Chicken Littles bemoaning any public spending because of this "financial crisis".

      If the sky is falling because of this financial crisis, having NASA research stuff up in the sky is a good idea, I say.
      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

        by rarel (697734) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:30PM (#28349043) Homepage
        Plus, people often forget that with the sky falling it's actually cheaper to get there! Win!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Except in this case, the sky is falling because of NASA...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmigaMMC (1103025)
        That's not trolling, that's a proper intelligent reply to the usual " we have a financial crisis we should stop breathing to save air"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by synth7 (311220)

      We are in a financial crisis, and the government wants to see if there is ice on the moon? There's plenty on this planet. I can make some for you in my freezer and you can save 20 billion dollars.

      Why do you hate science? And, no, I'm not being facetious. Humanity is reaching a potential ceiling on this planet's resources, and you deride efforts to determine whether we can ever get off this rock and sustain ourselves?

    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tizan (925212) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:52PM (#28349453)
      The world is always in a crisis ...you do realize that most of the world is in poverty ....so did that stop us from doing science, plays, movies, theaters, art, sports So why stop now ...because a few people made stupid investments in companies run by more stupid people ?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by confused one (671304) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:58PM (#28349555)
      Well, to start with the mission is costing $78 million, not $20 billion. Second, it costs $100,000 to launch one (1) gallon of water on the Shuttle. Probably closer to $10,000 per gallon on other vehicles; but, we all know the Shuttle is expensive to operate. Even at $10k/gal, that's still a lot of money. So, if we are going to put people on the Moon, it makes no sense, economically, to send them water from Earth. Even in high orbit of Earth, it's likely to be more cost effective, in the long run, to lift water out of the Moon's gravity well than it is to lift water out of the Earth's gravity well. It is clearly the fiscally responsible thing to do.
  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:19PM (#28348835)
    Our intelligence is that they are storing WMD's on the moon.
  • NASA should recruit them. They'd be the experts on triggering massive explosions.

  • Whoa, will this be visble from Earth? That would rock!
  • by VAXcat (674775) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:22PM (#28348889)
    SO, NASA is going the way of Mythbusters - from an organization devoted to scientific inquiry into one that just blows things up for kicks...
    • by Itninja (937614)
      Mythbusters was NEVER devoted to scientific inquiry. Using the terms 'control group' and 'data' twenty times an episode does not a scientist make. Infotainment at best.
    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      SO, NASA is going the way of Mythbusters - from an organization devoted to scientific inquiry into one that just blows things up for kicks...

      What mythbusters proves is that being curious can be fun... especially if you have a budget and an explosives license.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TrevorB (57780)

      Mythbusters wouldn't perform spectography on the resulting explosion...

      (Although they are getting more clever as the years go on. I wouldn't be surprised if Adam becomes the new Mr. Wizard in the 2020's...)

  • From TFA, "For Kimberly Ennico, the LCROSS payload scientist, those worries are focused on a critical moment less than two hours into the mission, when controllers will signal the spacecraft to turn itself on."
  • Cheese? (Score:4, Funny)

    by bryan1945 (301828) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:28PM (#28349019) Journal

    Will they also integrate a cheese flavor detector? How many thousands of years has human kind been wondering what flavor of cheese the moon is?

    My hope is a nice sharp cheddar, but with all those holes you can see on the surface I have a sinking feeling that it will probably be Swiss.

  • So they are going to blow the moon up... this... this just seems like a bad idea and something I read in a book...

  • "I can confirm the location of the Moon, but I cannot confirm the existence of the Moon"


    "That's no Moon... at least, not anymore!"
  • by kalpol (714519) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:31PM (#28349067) Homepage
    Will it be possible to watch through binoculars or a telescope?
  • come up with an Illudium PU-36 payload for that Atlas?

    I hope it's a fairly small charge; I wouldn't want a Moon-shattering KABOOM!

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:34PM (#28349123)

    ZOMG!!!! A massive explosion!!! A six mile high explosion!!!!

    Or would that actually be a very, very modest explosion (especially in astronomical terms) triggering a six mile high debris plume?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Deosyne (92713)

      But the moon is only a little over a quarter of the diameter of Earth, so it's like a 24 mile high explosion! ;)

  • by monoqlith (610041) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:35PM (#28349139)

    It's ok to blow things up if you just want to know if "there is water there."

    For instance, I just blew up a watermelon 'to see if there was water in there.' It was moist, leading me to believe that there is, in fact, water in there. Then I blew up a junk yard Ford Pinto so I could verify that there was not, in fact, "water in there." As I suspected, there wasn't.

    • by Sabz5150 (1230938)

      It's ok to blow things up if you just want to know if "there is water there."

      For instance, I just blew up a watermelon 'to see if there was water in there.' It was moist, leading me to believe that there is, in fact, water in there. Then I blew up a junk yard Ford Pinto so I could verify that there was not, in fact, "water in there." As I suspected, there wasn't.

      You blew up the wrong Pinto.

  • by arizwebfoot (1228544) * on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:36PM (#28349149)
    December 21st, 2012?
  • Since the Moon has about 1/6 the gravity of Earth, this 6 mile high explosion would be about, what, 1 mile high on Earth? So that's the equivalent of a firecracker in Denver. Meh.
    • Yes, but without the heated air, you won't get that cool mushroom.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by aardwolf64 (160070)

      If a 1 mile high explosion on Earth is your idea of a firecracker, I'd advise you to keep your firecrackers away from my house, sir.

  • Unfiortunately, the advanced civilization living peaceably beneath the surface for millennia, will suddenly begin arming for war.

  • by Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:37PM (#28349173)

    We have the technology... the time is now... science can wait no longer... children are our future. America can, should, must, and will blow up the moon!

    <stolen>http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/1c81d0df12/mr-show-america-blows-up-the-moon-from-thaffner [funnyordie.com]</stolen>

  • Big explosion. What are the odds this would be visible from earth? Naked eye? Or With a decent telescope?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RabidMoose (746680)
      I'm pretty sure I remember reading that a 10-12 in telescope should do the trick. To give a sense of scope, the moon is about 2,160 miles in diameter.
  • The launch has been delayed since Endeavor wasn't able to launch on Saturday as planned. Endeavor is currently slated to launch tomorrow to ISS and a new date hasn't been picked for this mission.
    Story here [space.com]
  • has anyone studied the dynamics of explosions in cheese? you shouldn't just be willy nilly setting off massive explosions in large chunks of cheese until you study all the possible ramifications

    i mean it could trigger a horrible cheesequake

    even just a little preliminary search by myself on google reveals that a cheesequake has become a large area devoid of human habitation!:

    http://www.stateparks.com/cheesequake.html [stateparks.com]

  • ... this means WAR!!!!
  • by tjstork (137384) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ykswordnab.ddot)> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:54PM (#28349491) Homepage Journal

    (AP) NASA announces that they have discovered that there were in fact trace amounts of ice on the moon.

    "We detected a modest amount of water by blowing up a small part of the moon, but is not really sufficient to allow for future use."

    Critics argue that NASA may have destroyed the precious lunar water, damaging the lunar system irreparably.

    "They blew it up, I tell you. This is a travesty. It's all just testosterone, blowing things up. We thought we were changing away from this white male blowing up the moon business. Now, future life will not be able to evolve on the moon without water.", said the head of the leftist Environmental Action Front.

    Other critics disagreed. "Drill, baby, drill", argued the head of the Chamber of Christian Commerce. "There's probably plenty more water on the moon. NASA couldn't have blown it up. It's the moon for Pete's sake...besides, there's no such thing as evolution anyways... "

    President Obama's press secretary forgot where he was for a moment, then blamed the launch of the space craft on George Bush.

    Dick Cheney replied that blowing up part of the moon was for national security but regretted that there will not be sufficient water to waterboard alien terrorists with.

    Aliens from Alpha Centauri expressed their outrage through their ambassadors at Area 51. Ambassador Xwillxiahch told human reporters "First, you shot down our spaceship, after we showed you how to make pyramids, and now you do this. You humans are far too aggressive. We could have told you that there was water on the moon". Are you going to go killed the fish on Europa to see if they are there...oh, there's fish on Europa...didn't know that, did you HUMANS.."

  • by BearRanger (945122) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @01:01PM (#28349617)

    I for one look forward to our future of savagery, sorcery and super science.

  • Cheap ploy (Score:4, Funny)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @01:16PM (#28349909)

    Sure, the LCOSS is intended to crash, but I bet NASA will announce eventually that the probe missed, made a soft landing instead and is now sending data from the surface. Way to lower expectations, guys.

  • by JustOK (667959) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @01:45PM (#28350447) Journal

    That's no moon, it's a target.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @01:48PM (#28350523)

    Several S-IVB stages from Saturn V rockets impacted the moon in the 1960s and '70s. All of them were more massive than the little Centaur.

    At least one Apollo mission left seismic sensors on the moon, which recorded the effects of S-IVB impacts on later flights.

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