19 June 2009

NASA To Fire a Rocket Into the Moon: Follow it on Twitter and Facebook

18 06 2009 - NASA has always done cool things, but its latest mission is really a sci-fi geek’s dream come true, as it includes flying a rocket into the moon, triggering a huge explosion.

image The purpose of the mission is to discover whether there’s frozen water in the craters near the moon’s south pole. If water is indeed found, it could have very important implications for further human missions on the moon, as a potential source for oxygen (you know why we need that) and hydrogen (for rocket fuel).

You can read about the mission in detail here, here, and here, but here’s a very short version: LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) will send the Centaur rocket which helped it out of Earth’s orbit into the moon at a high speed, ejecting debris from the surface of one of moon’s craters. LCROSS’ specialized instruments will then analyze the debris for the presence of water, before impacting the moon itself.

Higher Res photo of #Atlas V #LRO #LCROSS trip to launch pad. on TwitpicLCROSS’ launch date is today; it’s scheduled to launch at about 08:30 PDT. What’s especially cool about this mission is the fact that NASA is providing us with a variety of ways to follow the launch and the mission during the next four months.

First, you can watch the launch live at NASA TV. You can also follow LCROSS on Facebook and Twitter. Finally, for pictures related to the mission, check out NASA’s Twitpic account.

If everything goes well, LCROSS should impact the moon in about 111 days. NASA promises the moon won’t be damaged (much), but you never know with these scientist types. We’ll be watching closely.


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