Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NASA returns to the moon--first image from lunar mission

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Fly me to the moon, we said--and NASA complied. Shown here--the first live streaming image from LCROSS, taken early today from slightly more than 5,000 miles above the lunar surface.

LCROSS is one half of a paired robotic mission that will scout ahead for planned manned lunar missions. The LRO will orbit the moon; LCROSS and an upper stage are intended to study the moon, then crash into the surface to check for water plumes.

NASA provided live streaming coverage of the LCROSS instrument check-out and first photos of the moon's surface while in flight. The live show was managed by the Science Operations Center at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.,

In addition to the streaming video, which also included an animation of the spacecraft's maneuvers, LRO/LCROSS scientists sent Twitter messages to an eager audience. In the persona of LCROSS, the team just sent this message:

I will not see the moon "up close and personal" again til day of impact, Oct 9th.

That's the day that NASA scientists will kick up some lunar dust with an impact study peering closely to see if there are any indications of buried water on the moon's surface. A potential return to the moon to establish a lunar colony will require a thorough study of available lunar resources.


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