Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Quite a night! I set my alarm for 3:15 am in order to get up and watch LCROSS crash into the Moon.
Here's the sharpest optical image shown today of the Moon, from Palomar Observatory.
I am pretty sure this image shows the LCROSS impact plume and its shadow as seen from the MMT observatory in Arizona, but as Alan Boyle just pointed out, the time stamps indicate the photos were all taken before the nominal impact time.
This plot just shows the aggregate radiance in ultraviolet and visible wavelengths -- all wavelengths -- seen by one of LCROSS' spectrometers after the Centaur hit the Moon.
So the big drama on LCROSS is over.
It's been a little difficult to get a hold of the graphics that they used at this morning's press briefing.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner team just released some preliminary views of their data taken during the LCROSS impact, which clearly shows the thermal signature from the crash into the Moon.
I am having issues with TwitPic this morning, so will occasionally post new images from the LCROSS camera to this blog entry.
As a reminder that we've been crashing stuff into the Moon for decades, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team released today a photo of the crater made by the spent upper stage of the Saturn rocket that lofted the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon.
LCROSS and its Centaur upper stage have separated successfully, and the LCROSS shepherd spacecraft has braked in order to follow behind the Centaur when both impact the Moon tomorrow.
The visualization studio at Goddard Space Flight Center has just posted some handy simulations of what we can expect the LCROSS impact to look like.
Way early tomorrow morning, LCROSS and its Centaur upper stage will crash into the lunar south pole.
For a couple of weeks now, I've been hearing rumors about an upcoming announcement concerning Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper (
How much water is there on the Moon, and is it in a form that human explorers could use? This part of the story has many more questions and many fewer definite conclusions.
The images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera or LROC are absolutely stunning.
For over four decades, the lunar science community has absorbed the information from the Apollo missions. Although many important questions were answered, many important new questions are waiting to be tackled -- which is the very essence of science and exploration.
One primary goal of the LRO mission is to acquire the amazing bounty of scientific data necessary to enable future human lunar exploration and utilization. But why should we even bother going back?
Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.
Jim Bell describes his proposal to join the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Cameras science team.
After a hectic week of tying up loose ends and running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I now have my proster done for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and am in Phoenix for the Planetary Surface Processes field trip, led by my adviser Jim Bell.