Thursday, 8 October 2009

LCROSS to slam into the Moon

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will tomorrow experience a rather abrupt deceleration as it plunges into a crater near the South pole of the Moon.

Launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO - the one with my name on it) LCROSS clung to the final stage of the rocket motor and fuel tank. In a long looping orbit, LCROSS has slowly pointed the spent stage on a suicide dive into a crater where the Sun never shines. Shortly before impact LCROSS with detach from the rocket stage but follow it down a few minutes later. As the rocket stage hits and throws up debris LCROSS will fly into the plume with all detectors on full. Wow!

The LRO will be watching from orbit and ground based telescopes too. Let's see what's thrown up, some people hope to detect water, maybe lots of it, I just want to hear the results.

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