Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fly me to the moon and let me...
BLOW it up! >:D

Consider: the dark side of the moon, a kamikaze NASA probe loaded with explosives and lunar water.

Sometime between May and August 2009, depending on launch dates, the booster stage for NASA's LCROSS probe will deliberately crash into a permanently-shadowed lunar crater at 9,000 km/hr, producing an explosion equivalent to about 2,000 pounds of TNT (6.5 billion joules). The blast will jettison material out of the crater into broad daylight where astronomers can search the debris for signs of lunar water.
Water is the treasure. NASA plans to send people back to the Moon by 2020 and eventually set up a lunar outpost. Water would be an invaluable resource for astronauts living and working on the Moon.
Colaprete's team will time the impact so that it happens while the Moon is high in the sky at night in Hawaii. There, LCROSS scientists will observe the ejecta plume with the powerful Infrared Telescope Facility. But astronomers on the west coast of the U.S. and in Japan could be able to see the impact as well, depending on the precise impact time. "It really is going to turn into an international event," Colaprete says. "Everyone's going to be training their eyes on the impact to observe it."

Article here.

(The song in the title is 'Fly me to the moon')

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