About 100 kilometers from the Moon's South Pole, 100 kilometer wide
crater Cabeus is the target for two
mission spacecraft on course to impact the Moon tomorrow.
The shadowed crater is strongly
foreshortened in this mosaic, a
representative view of the region for earthbound telescopes.
The impacts are intended to
create billowing debris plumes
extending into the sunlight above the crater walls, that could
reveal signs of water.
First to impact will be the mission's Centaur upper stage
rocket at 11:30 UT (7:30am EDT).
The instrumented LCROSS mothership will image the impact and then
fly through the resulting debris plume analyzing the material blasted
from the crater floor.
Four minutes after the first impact, the LCROSS mothership
itself will crash into Cabeus.
The plumes are expected to be visible in telescopes about 10 inches in
diameter or larger, with the timing
favoring Moon watchers
in western North America and the Pacific.
NASA also plans to broadcast live footage from the LCROSS mission
on NASA TV
starting at 6:15am EDT / 3:15am PDT on October 9.
NMSU/MSFC Tortugas Observatory