PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 21, 2009) The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) will offer space exploration enthusiasts the opportunity to watch the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) crash-land on the Moon Friday, October 9, 2009. The LCROSS will crash into the Moon in order to gather data from the 6-mile-high impact cloud it will create. OMSI will be showing the impact in the auditorium live via satellite on NASA TV beginning at 3:30 a.m., with the impact scheduled at 4:30 a.m. PDT. Admission for the televised impact is free.
The Mission Objectives of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) include confirming the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the Moon’s South Pole. The identification of water is very important to the future of human activities on the Moon. LCROSS will excavate the permanently dark floor of one of the Moon’s polar craters with two heavy impactors in 2009 to test the theory that ancient ice lies buried there. The impact will eject material from the crater’s surface to create a plume that specialized instruments will be able to analyze for the presence of water (ice and vapor), hydrocarbons and hydrated materials.
On October 9, 2009 at 4:30 a.m. Pacific time, the Centaur upper stage of the rocket that launched Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and LCROSS to the Moon will crash in to moon crater at the south pole, Cabeus A, as the LCROSS spacecraft watches. Four minutes later, LCROSS itself will crash at the same spot. The impact will be watched by numerous spacecraft and both amateur and professional ground-based observatories. On that date the impact site will be in darkness but the ejecta plume, predicted to be approximately 6 miles in height, will launch into sunlight.
The impact will be observed by several space-based observatories, including the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope; GeoEye, a private spacecraft that provides high-resolution satellite imagery; Odin, a Swedish radio astronomy satellite; NASA’s Earth Observing 1 technology demonstration satellite; and LCROSS’s sister mission Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. In addition, numerous professional ground-based telescopes will be watching, including Keck, Gemini, and IRTF in Hawaii; Magdalena Ridge and Apache Point Observatories in New Mexico, and MMT in Arizona.
For more information about the LCROSS mission, including images and timeline, visit: http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/
Please note that the LCROSS impact date and time is subject to change by NASA.
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit http://www.omsi.edu