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Moon NASA Science

Front Row Seats To NASA's Lunar Impact 132

itwbennett writes "Tomorrow morning at 7:30 EDT, NASA is going to crash a probe into the moon as part of its LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite) mission, the main purpose of which is to discover if there's any water on the moon. 'If you happen to have a 10-12" telescope (or larger) then you might be able to see the plume from your backyard,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'For the rest of us, the impact will be streamed live over the web in a few places. NASA will have a feed, beginning at 6:15 EDT. The NASA feed includes live footage from the spacecraft itself as well as expert commentary and other goodies. Astronomy service SLOOH is offering a double-shot of earth-bound feeds, with one feed from New Hampshire and the other from Arizona. The SLOOH feeds start at 6:30 am EDT.'" Update: Matt_dk adds a link to a viewing guide to the impact, writing that "Amateur astronomers need a 10-inch or bigger telescope to make observations."
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Front Row Seats To NASA's Lunar Impact

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  • by aembleton ( 324527 ) <aembleton AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:08AM (#29681411) Homepage

    NASA have set up a webpage for the LCROSS Observation Campaign: http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/observation.htm [nasa.gov]

    By the way, it is at 11.30 UTC for those who don't know how far their timezone is from EDT.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shag ( 3737 )

      I'll be at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, either looking through their scopes (14-16") or trying to get some pictures with my cameras. Unfortunately, my shift up on the summit ended Wednesday morning, so I have no excuse (or desire, really) to go up top. I might wander up to the LCROSS comms center at Hale Pohaku at some point, though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jdev ( 227251 )

      There's also a separate NASA mission site with some easier to understand info.

      http://www.nasa.gov/lcross [nasa.gov]

    • by tyldis ( 712367 )

      Kudos. /. shouls always use UTC. Always.

    • here [timeanddate.com].
  • by Tanks*Guns ( 587234 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:08AM (#29681419)
    It's a pretty safe bet that the impact of the Centaur module will awaken some ancient lunarian race which will immediately begin waging a campaign to subjugate Earth once and for all, so it would behoove you to watch one of these feeds in order to be prepared for the inevitable.

    Flash!!! ... GORDON .....
  • I wish that the "Mythbusters" guys would fly the probe into the Moon with one of them screaming, "I wanna see something blow up!"
    • by RichiH ( 749257 )

      Preferably with them and their three oh-so-political-correctly-mixed underlings inside the probe.

      It's amazing how boring, dragged-out and pseudo-sciency these guys can make a simple yes or no answer. And no, the way they get to that answer does _not_ interest me if it's presented in such a way.

  • that the aliens [examiner.com] wont get too upset at us.

  • Is it really so hard to set up an excavation robot on the moon that we have to keep dropping things on it?!?


    Trying to get rid of mental image of Man on the Moon wearing a blindfold while smoking a cigarette.

    • Re:Robots (Score:5, Interesting)

      by courteaudotbiz ( 1191083 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:17AM (#29681555) Homepage
      Maybe it is because of the extremely low temperature at the moon's poles [newscientist.com] and that any robotic being would not survive. I also understand that any water ice exposed to the sun on the moon would almost instantly sublimate, so I guess that an impact lifting tons of moon regolith is the most logical step in seeing water ice for a short moment, right before it sublimates because of the sun's energy it will be exposed to.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Viper23 ( 172755 )

        The reason it's so cold is that it's in a crater that doesn't let the sun in. As for freezing your robot, there is no atmosphere to leach heat off of your robot, so at the most you'd need to make up for heat lost through your highly insulated tires.

        The main advantage of using a robot (other than "you've got a robot on the moon") is that you can study the structure / layout of the minerals in place rather than just their composition...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ragzouken ( 943900 )

          The main problem is probably powering a robot on the moon without solar power.

          • by sznupi ( 719324 )

            This is at most a green wackos problem, not technical one. We've been using RTGs when there's not enough solar power for a long time.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Take some science class. Things lose heat in vacuum by emitting radiation (typically infrared at our temperature). You might also learn that crashing is easier than landing (less delta-V), kinetic energy is a bitch at that kind of speed and will create an explosion, and people here on Earth actually use explosions to excavate material, not robotic spoons.

          • by tyrione ( 134248 )

            Take some science class. Things lose heat in vacuum by emitting radiation (typically infrared at our temperature). You might also learn that crashing is easier than landing (less delta-V), kinetic energy is a bitch at that kind of speed and will create an explosion, and people here on Earth actually use explosions to excavate material, not robotic spoons.

            Heat, by definition is Radiation. We won't get into the specifics of convection and conduction.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Chris Burke ( 6130 )

      This probe impact is going to kick up vastly more material than a practical robot could ever dig. If your goal is an existence proof of water, and you don't know how common it is, then you want to go through as much material as possible. Phoenix barely scratched the surface of Mars. If signs of water had been more than a few inches deep, it wouldn't have found them before it died.

      Maybe once we've confirmed there's water in those craters, it'll be worth sending a robot of some kind to take a closer look.

    • > Is it really so hard to set up an excavation robot on the moon that we have
      > to keep dropping things on it?!?

      Yes, it is. It is particularly hard to soft land things on the moon, especially in awkward places such as polar craters that we cannot see into.

    • by RichiH ( 749257 )

      Crashing the more-or-less useless remains of existing missions into a planet is free. Sending an excavation robot is not. Also note that they had the booster hit first and the actual payload hit later so it could still measure & report while flying through the plume of debris.

  • That'll teach the Lunar People who owns this solar system!

    More seriously, I was looking forward to watching this in my telescope, but it looks like it's going to rain for the next 24 hours straight.

  • More NasaTV feeds (Score:5, Informative)

    by agentgonzo ( 1026204 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:13AM (#29681487)
    NasaTV Feeds at different resolutions:
    100k/s, 320/240 [yahoo.com]
    200k/s, 320/240 [yahoo.com]
    500k/s, 480x360 [yahoo.com] (I think)
    100k/s, 640/480 [yahoo.com]
    All Windows Media format

    Real media format [nasa.gov]
    Quicktime [nasa.gov]
    For those of you who need to watch it in absolute realtime, I've found that all the yahoo feeds (windows media) whilst being the best video quality are generally about 1-2 minutes behind realtime. Realmedia is normally about 5-10 seconds behind realtime.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by agentgonzo ( 1026204 )
      Balls. I thought that I'd got it all correct. The 4th Yahoo feed [yahoo.com] should be 1200k/s, not 100k/s. Sorry about that.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The real feed is at

      137W 4060 V tp 18 SR 26665 FEC 3/4

      119W 12355 L tp 10 SR 20000 FEC 5/6

    • It will never be in "real time". It takes 2 seconds for the image to beam back to earth.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by agentgonzo ( 1026204 )
        Actually, it only takes 1.2 seconds (or very slightly over) to get back to Earth. The two seconds you're thinking about was the communication delay for Apollo, representing the roundtrip there and back. This is only one way.
      • So by your standards I guess nothing is real time.

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        As another poster wrote, everything is affected by this delay. If there would be "0 seconds" delay, the feed would arrive in the past.

    • Some of my friends and I are planning to drive down to the set in Arizona where they'll be filming it.

  • I just saw this video on CNN [cnn.com]

    There are also a bunch of videos on you tube

  • But they really missed an opportunity with this one: LCROSS was sent to find RUGBYs (Remote Underground BaYous of course)
  • Maybe we should think twice before launching an attack against an Utu-class planetoid?

    Mutineer's Moon
    http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0671720856/0671720856.htm [webscription.net]
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:40AM (#29681787) Journal
    It is a deliberate underhanded attempt by NASA to deny the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who survive by peddling the NASA moon landing conspiracy theories. NASA tries to prove beyond doubt, and create thousands of eye witnesses of NASA's ability to actually send a rocket all the way to the moon. This must be stopped. Wait. I am getting a late feed from Conspiracy Central.


    Looks like NASA has launched a large white glass plate and placed it in near earth orbit. It is sitting exactly in the line of sight from Earth to moon. People normally see through this the real Moon. But at the appointed time, NASA will project an image using lasers and create an illusion of a spacecraft crashing into moon, and then turn off the projection. Ha, haa, NASA, we got you. We got you all figured it out. Your jig is up. We will not be denied our meal ticket no matter what you do.

    • > Looks like NASA has launched a large white glass plate and placed it in near
      > earth orbit. It is sitting exactly in the line of sight from Earth to moon.

      "Earth orbit"? No, no. That's all a fake too. Nothing has ever been more than a few miles above the surface of the Earth.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      What a load. Of course we can get a rocket to the moon now. It is landing men on the moon and getting them back that is impossible. I mean if it was possible would we have stopped doing it for all these years? I mean if we could really land men on the moon forty years ago then we should still be doing it now.

      Yes I am kidding but when I actually think about it is start to cry.

    • Ah my friend, you jest but I heard a conspiracy theory today on the radio. It was pretty creative. So here's the scoop. The theory is that NASA is not really probing the moon to check for water. After all, didn't we already do that when we landed (and can't we already do that remotely with Mars?) . NASA has stated that the impact will create a 6 mile high cloud of smoke, in which another rocket will intercept the debris for analysis. They also stated the probe has a warhead at the tip to create the impact.
      • Wait, wouldn't it be more plausible that there are men on the moon (Moonmen or Moonians), and our government is at war with them to hide the fact that there are aliens? I think I heard something sourced from the Coast to Coast AM with George Noory that aliens will be shown to us by the end of the year. It might have been David Wilcock's prophecy. Or it could be Richard Hoagland's premise of a secret base. Either way, we are at war with the Moon!
  • NBC Announced this morning that they will be airing the coverage of the impact live on the Today Show.
  • So NASA found some lunar aliens on the moon in a crater to play catch with? Awesome!
  • If water on the moon is so difficult to get to that one has to throw a satellite at the surface at 5600 mph [nasa.gov], how likely is it that man will be able to inhabit the moon?

    Never mind the issues of building vacuum-sealed living quarters and getting mining equipment to the moon and the current low-power density of the solar energy generation mechanism most likely to be used on the moon, how would you get water up there if you have to send a satellite the mass of a full-sized SUV to dig a hole as deep as the lengt

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bakkster ( 1529253 )

      It raises the question of why we're spending any time at all on the moon. It can't be lived on, it's unlikely to harbor life, its geology has already been explored. Someone tell me what the point is...

      Its surface geology has been explored, but not what's beneath. As for why to explore it, it's the closest heavenly body to the earth, so it's a good place to start. It's cheap and easy to get to, and a good stepping stone to future missions. Do you think the Viking or Mariner missions would have been successful if not for the Surveyor moon missions? If we ignore moon science, we make all future space missions more difficult and expensive.

      If you don't think astronomy isn't important, then you must hate

    • Mankind is something of an odd creature. Our inquisitive nature allows it explored areas that are too hostile even for us to survive. We do this exploration and observe what happens in order to satisfy our other primary curiosity, knowledge. From this knowledge and experience, we gain valuable insight that helps make out lives a bit easier, safer, and perhaps more challenging at the same time. It's in our nature to push the limits of about anything in order to achieve a goal or satisfy a challenge. This is

    • I seem to recall a large world nearby with plentiful water supplies that could be shipped in... It isn't as if lunar settlers would completely cut off from supplies from Earth, the Moon isn't THAT far away. Add that with even a half-decent water recycling system, and water shouldn't be a problem.
      • The problem isn't water, it's energy. It takes a lot of energy to lift anything out of Earth's gravity well. Getting water to the moon in large volume is energetically too expensive to make it worth the trouble. Finding water on the moon makes a moon base a lot cheaper.

        This brings me to the next step. Water on the Moon isn't valuable because it's water. Water on the Moon represents energy. Using solar power, it can be split into hydrogen and oxygen, and then burned back into water vapor (or just use
    • by Draek ( 916851 )

      Because its cheaper to take stuff from the moon into outer space than it is from Earth, by virtue of its much lower gravity and nearly non-existant atmosphere.

      Perhaps actually living on the Moon's surface won't ever be feasible, but there's no reason why you couldn't just, dunno, grab a chunk of it then process it in your theoretical spaceship.

  • The Time Machine (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Xanavi ( 1197431 )
    whatcouldpossiblygowrong? This reminds me of the scene in the 2008 whatever version of the Time Machine where the moon was blasted on to make condos or someshit and it went horribly wrong.
  • Seriously guys, is it our right to bomb the moon? [craigslist.org] and permanently scar her chi forever? Rather than being passive observer's of this horrible Astrological act of Terrorism by the evil U.S. Government we should all be contemplating the beauty of the moon, and focusing compassion towards her to help her through what will surely be a difficult and painful time for her. Join countless others on this date in a movement of group meditation to help mend the scars that our less compassionate brethren will bequeath
  • I know this impact will be very small compared to the total momentum of the Moon in its orbit with the Earth. But it will have some effect. How much more quickly (or slowly) will the Moon and Earth escape each other's pull and travel apart, ahead of (or behind) the original schedule?

  • Now, let us see if someone made a math error, and they miss the moon entirely.

  • We're actually gonna nuke the moon!

    http://www.imao.us/docs/NukeTheMoon.htm [www.imao.us]
  • ...and other places. Viewing parties across the country in fact.

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/impact/event_index.html [nasa.gov]

  • It would really suck if the lunar substrate turned out to be far more rigid (what with the cold of space) than we thought, and this impact set up a resonant frequency that shook all the surface lunar dust OFF, and the Earth's gravity drew it all in, causing the Ultimate Lunar Winter. It's The End Of The World As We Know It.

    Holy crap! I think I just invented the next Michael Bay movie!

    I do hereby claim 25% of the movie revenue. If only to make it too unprofitable (to stop the madness).

  • The site linked to in this story doesn't appear to support OS's other than windows and mac for streaming video.
    Maybe (hopefully) I'm not looking hard enough but at first glance their is no linux support.
    Good thing I have a telescope.
  • As is the norm for 99% of all astronomical events like comets, meteor showers, space station flyovers, etc. this one, too, will be obscured by dense cloud cover for anyone living in the Chicago area. (Argh!)

  • I think I am going to be screwed in South America where i live. The days are getting longer, so it will still be day light out even though I am in that EDT time zone.

  • Nearly 90% of the US films end up in an explosion, either it is a building, or a ship, car, mountain, some people, but something always to be exploded.

    I was in the USA and I noticed there other strange things. It is considered to be shameful to walk. The sidewalks are narrow, the green light for pedestrians light up just for about 10 seconds, so that one has nearly to run to cross a street. Automobile roads look like the rivers of steel, like a new geographical phenomena.

    If one does not spoil nature, does n

    • after considering your post I believe we need a "blow this post up" button next to the "reply" and "parent"

  • The boffin-hyped"plume" wasn't visible with ten inch nor twenty inch amateur telescopes. It wasn't even visible with 200 inches telescope that Palomar Observatory has! PR nightmare, bwahaha.

    • Well, Marshall is kind of the redneck branch of the NASA family. Imagine you suspect that lighting a fart will blow the door off the out house, and all you get is a barely visible blue flame. It's still cool, just not as dramatic as you thought it might be.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam