Headlines > News > LCROSS Impacts Moon, Science Data Pending (Update)

LCROSS Impacts Moon, Science Data Pending (Update)

Published by Matt on Fri Oct 9, 2009 12:20 pm via: source
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Written by Nancy Atkinson

The MMTO Telescope on Mount Hopkins in Arizona has video from their observations that, while fuzzy, clearly show a bright plume emerging from the crater. The video is here.

In a bit of an anti-climax, the Centaur second stage, and later the LCROSS spacecraft impacted Cabeus Crater but produced no visible plume. Analysis of navigation telemetry indicated the trajectory was spot on, and the Centaur should have hit the surface to within about 64 meters (210 feet) of the planned target. The video above is from NASA TV, and the video below is from the Lick Observatory, whose 36-inch telescope was trained on the Moon’s south pole. They didn’t see anything, as reports from telescopes at Palomar, Arizona, and Mauna Kea also confirmed. But a dim impact would mean regolith ejecta, which scientists say is good because that means it hit more dirt than rocks. Another thing to remember is that science is not always “seen” in visible light. The LCROSS sensors and instruments will provide the best data.

I’ll post more later after the LCROSS press conference at 9 am CDT. In the meantime, enjoy these animations created by Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society from the LCROSS camera as it approached the Moon — very nice!

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