Feeds

Moon orbiter detects pole-plunge hotspots in dark bottom

NASA: LCROSS may have caused 'significant heating'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Damp squib may nonetheless have caused 'significant local heating'

'Preliminary, uncalibrated' Diviner thermal pics of the strike zone 2 hrs prior and 90 seconds after LCROSS impact. Credit: NASA

Roughly what you'd see if you let off a large bomb in the Cabeus crater.

According to boffin David Paige, boffin-in-charge of the team operating the Diviner thermal scanner mounted on the LRO, the pics above indicate that the LCROSS strikes may not have been the damp squibs they appeared to be visually. As the orbiting spyeye passed above Cabeus just after the impact, it detected two distinct hotspots where the Centaur and the LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft (SSC) follower drilled in. NASA says this should have resulted in an energy release roughly equivalent to a ton and a half of TNT detonating.

According to Paige, writing at the Diviner blog:

The thermal signature of the impact was clearly detected in all four Diviner thermal mapping channels. Since the LCROSS impact feature is predicted to be significantly smaller than a Diviner footprint, its detection is consistent with the notion that the LCROSS impact resulted in significant local heating of the lunar surface.

Even if very little debris was actually thrown up by the strikes, heating of the surface is good news for the NASA boffins as it should mean that they can get a better analysis of how much water may have been present around the impact sites.

No firm word on the exploitability of the possible ice reserves of the lunar antarctic is expected for some time, however. Meanwhile, NASA is embroiled in a massive bureaucratic effort to decide on a way forward for its manned space programme, as the US government has not budgeted enough money for the planned Constellation rockets'n'spacecraft programme. Constellation was intended to supersede the Space Shuttle and then take humans back to the Moon and onward, perhaps, to Mars. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.