Let’s Play Whack A Moon

NASA spacecraft to slam into moon to search for water

Early Friday morning, NASA will slam two spacecraft into the moon in the hope of unearthing signs of water.

The spacecraft, called the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite or LCROSS, will break into two parts to hit the moon a few minutes apart. First the Centaur upper stage rocket will hit the lunar crater Cabeus near the southern pole, sending a plume of debris about 6 miles above the moon. LCROSS then will fly through the debris, collecting and analyzing the debris, searching for signs of water ice before slamming into the moon at 5,000 miles per hour.

Space-based and Earth-based telescopes will scrutinize the plumes. Observers here in Utah plan to join the party. Several members of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society will attempt to catch a glimpse of the plumes.

Patrick Wiggins, NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah, says discovering water on the moon could have big implications for the future of space exploration. Not only would water allow astronauts to replenish drinking and sanitation water on the lunar surface, but rocket fuel is made of a special blend of oxygen and hydrogen, the base elements in water.

“If we could build future spacecrafts on the moon, and launch from there, spacecraft would be much smaller and more efficient because of the lower gravity there,” Wiggins said. “It would be much easier and cheaper to explore the distant realms of the solar system and eventually beyond. A lot of good things could happen if we confirm there is water on the moon.”

See also:
NASA to Bomb the Moon Friday
NASA satellite to intentionally slam into moon
NASA Changes LCROSS Crater Target
Moon-crashing probe aimed at bigger target
NASA Needs Your Help with LCROSS Impact
How to watch NASA’s big crash on the moon
NASA MSFC Invites News Media to Participate In LCROSS Impact Events
Astronomy service Slooh will let you watch the LCROSS impact live on October 9
Back To The Moon
There’s Water On That Thar Moon!