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TOPIC: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter


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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
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Deep impact on moon
On Oct. 9 at 4:40 a.m., amateur astronomers with telescopes with objectives larger than about 20 centimetres may have the chance to observe a very rare event, the deliberate crashing of a large spacecraft onto the moon's surface.  This act is part of our ongoing search for water on the moon.

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Crater Cabeus A
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NASA's LCROSS Reveals Target Crater For Lunar South Pole Impacts
NASA has selected a final destination for its Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, after a journey of nearly 5.6 million miles that included several orbits around Earth and the moon. The mission team announced Wednesday that Cabeus A will be the target crater for the LCROSS dual impacts scheduled for 7:30 a.m. EDT on Oct. 9, 2009. The crater was selected after an extensive review as the optimal location for LCROSS' evaluation of whether water ice exists at the lunar south pole.

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Latitude: 82.2° S, Longitude:     39.1° W

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LCROSS Mission
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NASA Selects Target Crater for Lunar Impact of LCROSS Spacecraft
NASA has identified the spot where it will search for water on the moon. Reporters are invited to attend the announcement of the target location where the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its spent Centaur rocket will hit in October. The briefing will take place at 10 a.m. PDT, Friday, Sept. 11, in the main auditorium, Building N201, of NASA's Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site.
The selected crater is an optimal target for evaluating if water ice exists at the lunar south pole. Briefing participants are Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager, Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS principal investigator, and Jennifer Heldmann, lead for the LCROSS observation campaign.
Andrews will provide an update about the health of the spacecraft and mission activities. Colaprete will announce the target crater and explain the criteria and selection process. Heldmann will discuss the LCROSS observation campaign in which an international cadre of professional and amateur astronomers will view the impacts at 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 9.

Source NASA

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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
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LRO camera takes first look at Apollo 12 landing site
Just over a month ago, the imaging system on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) had its first of many opportunities to photograph five of the six Apollo landing sites. The LROC (short for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera) team recently had the chance to target the remaining landing site.
The Apollo 12 landing site was well worth the wait. The Surveyor 3 spacecraft, Lunar Module descent stage and Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP), along with astronaut tracks, are all visible.

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Tsiolkovskiy crater
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Tsiolkovskiy is a spectacular example of complex impact crater. It has a terraced rim, a central peak, and a floor flooded with mare basalts, dark rock formed by long-passed volcanic activity. Impact events release tremendous amounts of energy and can result in large changes in the local landscape. Just after the initial impact, the central peak was uplifted from lower crustal rock, forming a giant mountain in the middle of the crater. Later, large and small pieces of that uplifted rock rolled down and accumulated at the base of the slope -- just waiting for future lunar explorers to examine. Apollo 17 astronauts used this strategy as a way to sample nearby mountain tops without having to climb to the top.

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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
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NASA's lunar impactor loses most of its fuel
NASA's moon-colliding probe LCROSS lost more than half its propellant late last week after a glitch caused it to repeatedly fire its thrusters to try to orient itself. But the spacecraft is still on track to complete its mission to slam into the moon's south pole in October.

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Upon starting an early morning communications pass on Aug. 22, 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission operations team discovered the spacecraft had experienced an anomaly.
According to spacecraft data, the LCROSS Internal Reference Unit (IRU) experienced a fault. The IRU is a sensor used by the spacecraft's attitude control system (ACS) to determine the orientation and trajectory of the spacecraft. The anomaly caused the spacecraft ACS to switch to the Star Tracker Assembly for spacecraft positional information and caused the spacecraft's thruster to fire excessively, consuming a substantial amount of fuel. Initial estimates indicate that the spacecraft still contains sufficient fuel to complete the full mission.

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NASA's newest robot mission to the moon launched on June 18 and it has so far been a success, even sending back images of the Apollo lunar landing sites.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is using new sensing technology to scan the moon's surface, helping scientists search for resources such as ice, and assess the threat that radiation in the environment could pose for humans. The project is part of NASA's Vision for Space Exploration and is the first step towards returning humans to the moon.
The orbiter will spend the next year collecting data, gathering more information than any previous spacecraft. To accomplish this, NASA had to build a powerful communications system that can transmit nearly 461 gigabytes of data per day more than 238,800 miles back to Earth.

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On Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009, the LCROSS spacecraft successfully completed its first Earth-look calibration of its science payload. An additional Earth-look and a moon-look are scheduled for the remainder of the cruise phase of the mission.

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The LCROSS spacecraft  impacts the Moon at 11:30 GMT, (4:30 Pacific Time), on the 9th October, 2009.

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