A New Look at an Old Neighbor

We have yet to uncover the full wealth of scientific information the moon holds. It at the cornerstone of understanding the birth and evolution of Earth and other planets, therefore we need to explore it.

The moon looks very unchanging and calm in the night sky and is rarely thought of as an active planetary body. What most people don’t know, is the moon receives LCROSS-sized impacts about once a week — that’s more than 50 impacts a year! It also is interesting to note that it experiences thousands of  “moonquakes” each year and releases energy by heat flow, electromagnetic conduction and tides from Earth and the Sun.

Moon’s Copernicus Crater — Lunar Orbiter Photo 1966 (Credit: NASA)

LCROSS is unique compared to the natural barrage of material impacting the moon because it’s designed to know exactly where and when it will impact — the Cabeus crater near the moon’s south pole.

 Craters of interest around the lunar south pole. LCROSS is targeting Cabeus A.
(Credit: NMSU/MSFC Tortugas Observatory)

Little is known about the moon’s permanently shadowed regions and we may find some unexpected results from this unique mission. The crater is more than two miles deep and may be one of the coldest places in the solar system. Scientists believe it has been void of sunlight for billions of years and represents an optimal location for determining if water ice exists on the moon.

Teams of scientists, engineers and astronomers across NASA, industry and academia are working tirelessly to advance space exploration and knowledge of our solar system with this mission. Now that LCROSS is two days away from impact, they still have a lot of work ahead of them. For example, they will observe the impacts, gather images of them, measure the quantity of water and identify its form and study the lunar soil.

This exciting mission promotes participatory exploration from the professional and amateur astronomy community, students and the general public.

During impact, at least twenty-five Earth-based observatories will be aimed at the Cabeus crater to witness the moment the lunar dust rises and is suspended in the sunlight to determine if it contains water vapor.

34 thoughts on “A New Look at an Old Neighbor”

  1. I don’t understand what right NASA thinks it has to hit the moon with a missile. You are completely right we do not know enough about the moon there fore it seems utterly stupid to blast it with a missile. The moon is far to important to Earth to be merely played around with, the moon controls our ocean tides and helps our non-sperical Earth remain in orbit. Is there even proof that the moon is not semi hollow? And is it just me or does it seem like we shouldn’t be blasting things with missiles that we depend on for survival. Hhmmm let’s use our brains for one moment. If we want to really know if water exists on the moon why don’t we go back to the moon and land on it “again” (if we even went to the moon the first time). It just doesn’t add up to me. I don’t know when you asked the public for permition to bet their lives just to find out if there is water on the moon but if you want to go and ask them again I’m sure you would recieve very interesting answers filled with colorful vocabulary.Because in case you haven’t realized, even if their is water on the moon how will it help us out on earth? I didn’t know that by having water on the moon we could house the homeless, give people jobs, feed the hungry or maybe fix the economy. Seriously we have much bigger problems than knowing whether or not the moon has water! News flash NASA you do not own the moon or anthing else in the universe and you never will. And heaven forbide if there are other life forms in space how they might react to the United States blasting their moon, thats right it would be just as much their moon as it would be our moon, I am extremely dissapointed in NASA’s lack of pre-notification to the public and frankly if this mission goes wrong I would like to tell all the scientists who came up with this “brilliant” idea to go to ****.

  2. i hope you know what you are doing…sounds scary. can the moon get knocked out of it’s orbit? silly question?

  3. I think you SHOULD have put a longer observation time of plume and then flying through it and another longer time period to send data. 4 minutes seems a short amount of observation time. Also, acc to your own maps there is MORE water-ice measurements around the North Pole area…why hit the South Pole with LEAST amount of water?

  4. This is interesting! I think there should be more wrtten about and reported on these types of things in the main stream media, not just after the fact. Except for here. Speaking about the Moon how many people are aware that this December there will be two full moons in one month? Hence one in a Blu Moon. Many people today seem to forget about the big picture of the univers out there, all around us.

  5. I predict that the LCROSS will find more than it bargained for 🙂
    Good luck LCROSS and boldly go where no one has gone before.

  6. The moon belongs to the human race not NASA or the U.S.A. Can you be that arrogant as to not to ask the world permission to plow your rockets into our moon. It’s our future NASA is about to exploit. No doubt their will also be profit to be made with whatever is found on the moon and no doubt it will go into NASA’s coffers and not the human race. Get your government to reduce your pollution output if you want to “discover” how to save the human races future first and learn to ask the world permission before you mess with our universe.

  7. How is again that this “bunker buster” will fire? “It the cornerstone of understanding the birth and evolution of Earth and other planets, therefore we need to explore it.” Why? What good could it possibly do us?

  8. Have we humans not done enough damage to our earth without bombing the moon? I understand the curiosity, but not the necessity. Maybe we should try taking care of what we have. And the cost…don’t even get me started on that.

  9. Sounds like NASA doesn’t understand the law if physics. You know, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What a joke!

  10. I would like to know what time (EDT) the impact is to take place. I should be able to witness this with my telescope.Events like this are rare, especially if you know they are coming.

    John H.

  11. i am very interested in the solar system.are you really going to lunch a missle into the moon ? .

  12. Seriously, this sounds like a bunch of bored kids at a playground playing with explosives. If there are regular naturally occuring impacts to the moon already, why do we need to spend the resources to cause destruction intentionally/ artificially?

    This project is done with poor judgement and taste.

  13. There is some negative publicity on Twitter about this mission. I don’t think people are aware of how long similar operations have been going on. It’s not like NASA’s going to upset the universe or knock the moon out of its orbit. I have grown up admiring the space program and the amazing knowledge gained through the years by NASA. As a little girl I watched the first moon landing in 69. If water were on another planet I would be proud that my country was the first to discover it.
    Austin, TX

  14. What would Nasa and these companys do if life from another planet started firing experimental rockets into Earth? Just because we can’t see life on the moon from down here on the Earth, dosent mean its not there trying to survive in those environs. Will this mission come back and bite us all one day in the future. Someone told me when I was young, that the cures for today problems somtimes become the problems for our tomorrows.

  15. dear NASA, have you not remembered what the Navajo said in
    reply to you, when they were asked by the first astronauts
    to land on the moon, they said ” yes, tell our stellar family,
    don’t let the bela-ga-ana make a mess up there, upon our
    grand mother “. and now you want to explode a rocket into
    her to look for water, are you not content with making a mess
    of our mother the earth, now you want to do the same to our
    grand mother, where is this gonna stop ?
    if you and the crazy politicians and scientists want to leave mother
    earth in order to find some other planet to colonize !! then please
    be our guest, only in some other galaxy far far away, and leave
    us who love our earth mother alone to cherish her once more, as
    our creator the great mystery wished us to do so from the beginning.
    yours bewildered, Matt King.

  16. Why does NASA think they can do what they want? Especially when they try to blow up the moon… Something does not add up! Why was the public not told about this in advance.. Maybe we would have said “no way” … and why has the news media not informed us of what has happened now? Sometimes we the people have a say in what happens to the place we call home.. Go spend all the millions on feeding america and paying off our debts… Thanks NASA for informing everyone who live on this planet .. prior to bombing OUR MOON….I hope my children’s children are here to talk about this day!!

  17. Watch and learn…there was more than water in the dust….and we all will know very soon what it was. Be patient it is not over yet..yes I predict also there’s more coming out of the plume ? Ummm whats that one liner and it’s used often here on earth…dust to dust..

  18. I just want to let you know that I fully support your controlled impact on the moons surface. I know that your team has researched every aspect of the operation. Like you stated earlier, the moons surface takes multiple impacts of greater force than this will make. I wish the people that are making a big deal about this would actually research things before they start telling NASA what they can’t do. They need to know that this is how we learn new information. NASA is made up of some of the greatest minds on this planet and without people like you with your forward thinking; we might still be living in caves. So NASA, stay awesome and do what you have to do to take further tomorrow than we are today.

  19. Scientists have known that the water on the moon was frozen and stock-still all along what if any connections can be seen by this discovery of H2O on the moon? And when the lunar dust reached sunlight all 25gallons of water were lost, isn’t this right? Since this crater is never exposed to sunlight Man may never, I stress may, never see the impact crater that was made by NASA, USA., or this water may never be accessible to future lunar missions.

  20. Lunar looks amazing.Pics you show and information you share in this post are awesome.
    I would like to more about this. I will wait for your next post.

  21. you must partner with private industry to drill into the moon at pole,habitat inside the moon,protected, water makes it easy,we must be first to this massive resourse,NASA has the expertice,private industry has the money,an effort similar to apollo has the potential to save not only NASA,but our country as well!it would be so easy compared to trying to live on surface

  22. I hope that sending a bomb to the moon will ot happen, because we all know that it may affect the whole Earth! Humans! You better listen to some good music from http://www.tinnitusmasker.com and realise that we all live here at the end!

  23. I was so excited to see the impact and hope scientific achievements made up for the lack of visual data.


  24. Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about this than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it. You should continue this, Im sure most people would agree youve got a gift. I love

  25. Those are really great pictures. I must say that we sometimes tend to forget the moon and only realize it when it is at its peak. Nonetheless, I really appreciate the different efforts in bringing some pictures of it to the people here on Earth.

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  26. Can you please answer this phenomenon is dangerous? please we are very anxious for this phenomenon, because many things are spoken about this ..

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