Watch the amazing lunar show on this link to NASA.TV. It will be shown live and it is also taped if you couldn’t get up in time in the morning. The lunar pole is to be bombed by NASA for the cost of 79 million dollars. This will tell us if there is ice underneath the moon’s surface. The world will have front row seats for the explosion of used-up spacecraft into the south pole of the moon. This explosion will kick up a massive plume of lunar material for the scientist to study and see if there is any water or ice in the dust.
LCROSS the space ship was launched in June will separate from it’s orbiter about ten hours before the collision. It has been orbiting the moon and mapping out the surface for this direct hit.
At 7:31 am EDT the large rocket will smash into the a crater, sending up miles of debris in its spray. Right behind the rocket is the LCROSS satellite which will have a bird’s eye view of the dust and debris and using color cameras it will beam these pictures back to earth. It is a short lived picture taking tour because the satellite will then take its own plunge into the moon about four minutes after the rocket. The dust storm from this collision is expected to be smaller than the one of the rocket.
The scientists will know within one hour of the rocket hitting the moon’s surface if there is water on the moon. This is one of the first stages of NASA’s program that is working on sending astronauts to the moon. The goal to return to the moon is being re-examined by NASA and the White House. The program carries a price tag of $ 100 billion dollars.
The moon gets crashes from space rocks about four times a month that are much larger than NASA’s rocket impact which will have the force of 1.5 tons of dynamite. The crater, Cabeus, is what the rocket will be aimed at and will just sustain a nick put in it about the size of a swimming pool. Scientists believe that if there is water hidden in the form of below the surface ice, this crater would be the best place to explore for this. This will act as just another natural occurrence on the moon not knocking it out of orbit or sending it spinning like a top. “A quick explosion with snap shots of the dust it stirs up” is what the mission is about in ten words or less.
The crashes will be broadcast live on NASA’s website. Most of Earths large telescopes will be aimed at the moon including the Hubble Space Telescope. At home telescopes may be able to glimpse this crash if you live west of the Mississippi and have at least a then inch telescope. If you live in an area that has daylight at that time, you will not be able to see it. This is being done during the week of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo using a telescope to see the moons of Jupiter.