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TOPIC: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter


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RE: Cabeus A
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There's a rare, perhaps unique opportunity in October for stargazers with telescopes.
In an effort to determine if water ice exists on the moon, NASA has directed a satellite and its upper stage rocket to impact in the Cabeus A crater, near the moon's south pole, on the morning of Oct. 9.
Experts say the debris plume might be visible in a 10-inch or larger scope. The rocket body will hit first. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will follow, analysing the debris and relaying data to Earth before it, too, hits the moon. The impact is planned for 5:30 a.m. MDT.

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SMART-1 imaged crash scene of upcoming LCROSS impact
The European Space Agency's SMART-1 team has released an image of the future impact site of NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).  LCROSS will search for water ice on the Moon by making two impacts into a crater named Cabeus A at the lunar South Pole. The impacts are scheduled for 11:30 and 11:34 am UT on 9 October 2009.
Bjoern Grieger, the liaison scientist for SMART-1's AIMIE camera, and Project Scientist Bernard Foing have searched through SMART-1's database for images of Cabeus A, taken four years ago at conditions where solar elevation and direction were similar to those of  LCROSS impact.  The SMART-1 image is at high resolution as the spacecraft was at its closest distance of 500 km from the South Pole.  The SMART-1 image of LCROSS target was discussed last week at lunar sessions of European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Potsdam, Germany.

Cabeus A is permanently shadowed, so ice lying inside the crater could be protected from the Sun's harsh rays.  LCROSS will send the upper stage Centaur rocket crashing into Cabeus A and a shepherd spacecraft will fly into the plume of dust generated and measure its properties before making a second impact with the lunar surface.  Astronomers will observe both impacts using ground and space-based telescopes. The SMART-1 spacecraft also concluded its mission with a controlled bouncing impact on 3 September 2006. The event was observed with ground-based telescopes and the flash from the impact was detected at infrared wavelengths.

"We are pleased to contribute these ESA SMART-1 observations of the LCROSS target site in order to help in the planning and interpretation of impact observations. This is like gathering evidence for a Crash Scene Investigation, but before the action takes place. The coordination and exchange of information between lunar missions is an important step for future exploration of the Moon. Cooperation is vital if we are ever to see 'villages' of robotic landers and eventual lunar bases, as recommended by the International Lunar Exploration Working Group" - Bernard Foing.

Source: Europlanet Media Centre

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OMSI will show live crash-landing of satellite on moon next month
You can watch a satellite crash-land on the moon Friday, Oct. 9, at Portland's Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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New NASA temperature maps provide 'whole new way of seeing the moon'
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), an unmanned mission to comprehensively map the entire moon, has returned its first data. One of the seven instruments aboard, the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, is making the first global survey of the temperature of the lunar surface while the spacecraft orbits some 31 miles above the moon.             
Diviner has obtained enough data already to characterise many aspects of the moon's current thermal environment. The instrument has revealed richly detailed thermal behaviour, throughout both the north and south polar regions, that extends to the limit of Diviner's spatial resolution of just a few hundred yards.          

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NASA Invites News Media to Ames for LCROSS Impact Events
NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission, known as LCROSS, will culminate with two lunar impacts at approximately 11:30 GMT (4:30 a.m. PDT) on Oct. 9. The mission will search for water ice in the Cabeus A crater near the moon's south pole. Reporters are invited to observe the event and participate in pre-impact and post-impact media briefings Oct. 9 at NASA's Ames Research Centre at Moffett Field, California.

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NASA Lunar Satellite Begins Detailed Mapping of Moon's South Pole
NASA reported Thursday that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully completed its testing and calibration phase and entered its mapping orbit of the moon. The spacecraft already has made significant progress toward creating the most detailed atlas of the moon's south pole to date. Scientists released preliminary images and data from LRO's seven instruments.

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Lunar Craters May Be Chilliest Spots in Solar System
The shadowy craters near the south pole of the Moon may be the coldest places in the solar system, colder than even Pluto, NASA scientists reported Thursday as they unveiled some of the first findings from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

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NASA scientists find hydrogen in moon's sunlit regions
NASA's lunar-mapping satellite has just begun its four-year mission searching for water on the moon, but it has already turned up a discovery that has scientists scratching their heads.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's seven scientific instruments have indeed confirmed the presence of large amounts of hydrogen -- a marker for water -- in permanently shadowed south pole craters, where scientists had known there were deposits of hydrogen. But the instruments have also found the element in regions where the sun shines.

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NASA to Release First Results from Lunar Mission Thursday, Sept. 17
NASA will showcase new images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's seven instruments and provide updates about the topography of the moon's south pole during a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 17.

Source NASA

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