Feeds

Huge Indiana Jones rumbling Moon billiard potted in crater

Lunar Juggernaut threat - cause of Clangers' extinction?

High performance access to file storage

Pic A gigantic rumbling stone ball as big as a three-storey house has thundered across the surface of the moon, smashing through a crater wall before coming to rest deep in the lunar pockmark's interior.

LRO imagery of a boulder trail ending in a crater. Credit: LROC

In the end the Clangers' lids just weren't strong enough.

The lunar juggernaut's epic career of destruction is revealed in this snap from a NASA survey spacecraft in low orbit around the Moon. It shows how the huge, 10m tall Indiana Jones-esque boulder bounced and ploughed (soundlessly of course on the airless moon) down a slope. Just as it was coming to rest it found itself teetering on the edge of a small 60m crater like a billiard ball on the lip of the pocket - and then it fell in.

The pic, from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is part of a huge and detailed lunar survey now underway. This has also seen other interesting events like the famous polar bombing mission in search of possible lunar iceberg mines, and the discovery of two long-lost Soviet nuclear/solar moon rovers - one of them nowadays owned by a wealthy games developer.

Rolling boulders of the sort seen above are reckoned interesting among selenologists as their original positions can often be identified by backtracking along the trail they leave. One such boulder was sampled during the Apollo 17 landing and then so backtracked, apparently furnishing some handy gen on rock formations up the slope.

The renewed modern surveys have come about because it was planned under the previous US administration that humans would return to the moon in the near future, as a precursor to voyages to Mars and the asteroids.

However, the moon-mapping efforts have now been rendered somewhat irrelevant as President Obama has lately decreed that there will be no return to the moon. Instead under his plans - reliant on a new heavy-lift rocket as yet unspecified, rather than the now-cancelled Ares V - astronauts will be sent first to an asteroid.

There's more on lunar boulders here, courtesy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight centre and its LRO partner organisations. They prefer golf to pool or billiards there, seemingly. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.