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Shadowed Lunar Craters May Be Coldest Spot In the Solar System

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the alright-niven-get-cracking dept.

Moon 108

sciencehabit writes "Science reports: 'What's the coldest spot in the solar system? For now, that distinction belongs to permanently shadowed craters near the moon's south pole, according to the first results from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft announced today at a NASA press conference. Another instrument has returned hints of water ice in some of these cold spots, ... but it also showed signs of water ice in impossibly hot places, too.'"

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Surprise to me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473267)

And here I thought it was my exwife.

Re:Surprise to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473345)

Only when she saw you naked (that's what she told me anyway).

Re:Surprise to me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473515)

if she's fat some black dude will still pork her

Sterling Engine! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473281)

I RTFA and Pluto is 44 Kelvin. This is the average temperature, no doubt there is some crevasse on Pluto, but it hasn't been measured.

Re:Sterling Engine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473323)

I RTFA and Pluto is 44 Kelvin. This is the average temperature, no doubt there is some crevasse on Pluto, but it hasn't been measured.

So you're saying our moon being the coldest place in our solar system just got Pluto'd [urbandictionary.com] by Pluto? Wha?

Re:Sterling Engine! (1, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473415)

Pluto isn't in the solar system anymore.

Re:Sterling Engine! (3, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473433)

Pluto isn't in the solar system anymore.

Of course it bloody is, it just isn't a planet anymore. Or something.

Re:Sterling Engine! (4, Funny)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473459)

Pluto isn't in the solar system anymore.

I wouldn't hang around if people were disrespecting me either.

Re:Sterling Engine! (4, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473845)

What about the crevasse on uranus ? (Come on *someone* had to.)

Re:Sterling Engine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473925)

You're just lucky somebody with mod points still laughs about butt jokes. Laughs a lot. Hehe.. butt.

Actually... (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474341)

According to Wikipedia, Uranus has the coldest planetary atmosphere, at 49K.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus [wikipedia.org]

Re:Actually... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475381)

According to Wikipedia, Uranus has the coldest planetary atmosphere, at 49K.

Strange, with all those hot winds that blow out of the crevasse...

Re:Actually... (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480561)

I told that to my ex-wife, and look where it got me.

Really? (3, Informative)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473291)

Since nobody is going to read it, the coldest temperature is 33K. The reason they care is because they'll probably find a lot of ice there.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I was of the understanding that space was on the order of 3K due to the cosmic background radiation. 33K is positively warm compared to this.

Re:Really? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473371)

According to wikipedia even pluto is 43 degrees kelvin. the sun shines enough even out that far that pluto is 40 degrees warmer than the CBR.

Re:Really? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474917)

According to wikipedia even pluto is 43 degrees kelvin. the sun shines enough even out that far that pluto is 40 degrees warmer than the CBR.

In the winter when the atmosphere freezes I bet parts of pluto get colder than 33 kelvin.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

G33kGuy (1152863) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473393)

Space isn't really cold as there isn't anything to be cold. As for tiny particles in space, their temperature would vary greatly depending on their distance from the sun (or other heat source).

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473675)

Are you saying Khan Noonien Singh was wrong when he told Kirk that "It is very cold in space"?

Re:Really? (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482241)

No, objects in space can be very cold, but space itself doesn't have a temperature.

Re:Really? (4, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473401)

Well, there could be some other reasons for wanting to know.

If you build a moon base, you could use these spots for some interesting stuff. Like infra-red observatories, which I think need to have a cold sensor to increase sensitivity.

Additionally 33 Kelvin is low enough that you can use at least one iron based superconductor [wikipedia.org] for energy storage. That way you can have huge arrays of solar panels or similar, and just dump surplus energy into a superconducting magnetic energy storage [wikipedia.org] .

The superconductors would also give you essentially free cooling for particle accelerators, but I've no idea how large those craters are, nor if that'd even be useful.

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473535)

It would not be a good idea to put superconducting solar panels in a place that does not have sunshine D'oh!

Frozen water? What about frozen hydrogen. Isnt Chiron's atmosphere frozen and lying on the ground?

Space is just freaking cold. 3k is 3degrees Kelvin, and its like -275 F. Really cold.

Great place to put a superconducting supercomputer... but solar array? No.

Re:Really? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473559)

It would not be a good idea to put superconducting solar panels in a place that does not have sunshine D'oh!

And who said the solar panels would be superconducting or placed inside the crater?

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473639)

Space is just freaking cold. 3k is 3degrees Kelvin, and its like -275 F. Really cold.

Actually, it's more on the order of -425F. -273C is Absolute Zero, IIRC. And yeah, that's definitely colder than a mother in law's kiss.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474399)

...that's definitely colder than a mother in law's kiss.

You obviously never met my mother in law. It's OK, she's dead now... you've dodged that bullet.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473661)

Exactly. So perhaps the GP was considering, maybe, a solar array nearby, connected to the superconducting inductor (superinductor?) with some exotic energy transfer technology, such as cables.

Re:Really? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473959)

Cables?! You're a mad man!

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

quercus.aeternam (1174283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473539)

A look at the energy storage option was very interesting - One side effect is the generation of an extremely large magnetic field:

"The biggest concern with SMES, beyond possible accidents such as a break in the containment of liquid nitrogen, is the very large magnetic fields that would be created by a commercial installation, which would dwarf the magnetic field of the Earth."

If this is the case, even a small installation could be extremely good from a health standpoint, especially in the context of colonization. Though they would still be without the protective effects of the atmosphere, they would probably be protected from a significant amount of radiation.

Excuse my ignorance...just asking... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474953)

...One side effect is the generation of an extremely large magnetic field:

"The biggest concern with SMES, beyond possible accidents such as a break in the containment of liquid nitrogen, is the very large magnetic fields that would be created by a commercial installation, which would dwarf the magnetic field of the Earth."

Would that enable the potential to 'install' an atmosphere there and keep it? [given a practical way to do so in the near future]
If so, that would be way too cool! [pun not intended, implied, nor endorsed...YMMV]

My understanding of the whole magnetic field around a planetary body/moon is that the MF is what enables the keeping/holding an atmosphere...using Mars as an example.

I am open for corrections and education on this...it seems too simple, but...

Re:Excuse my ignorance...just asking... (2, Informative)

perrin (891) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475041)

No, you need gravity to hold an atmosphere, much more than the Moon currently has. A strong magnetic field helps, but is not necessary, as in the case of Venus.

Re:Excuse my ignorance...just asking... (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475153)

Damn! You are correct!
Gravity is a stone cold bitch, and I know this first-hand! *facepalm*
Thanks for the prompt reply and reminder that I need to think stuff all the way through. :-)
I should not have overlooked that, and now feel foolish for my short-sightedness.
Thanks for the "get a grip on reality" slap to the face for the half-baked question.
Really, no sarcasm intended- I can't believe I missed that basic principle!

*starts writing on chalkboard:
"rts008 is a premature ejaculating dumbass" one hundred times.*
I will learn from this!!!

Re:Excuse my ignorance...just asking... (1)

DoninIN (115418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29486153)

The moon has enough gravity to retain a significant atmosphere, for a long long time, even a geologically significant amount of time. Millions of years by some calculations, look at google groups, check out rec.arts.science possibly you can show me I'm wrong, if so nifty. The moon does not have enough gravity to have captured, or to have retained whatever atmosphere it would have had after it's capture, or more likely creation after the impact that probably formed the moon and changed the earth into the planet we have today.

However even with a huge magnetic field, once you put any sort of trace atmosphere on the moon these craters would cease to be the coldest places around and the superconductors would warm up and stop being superconductors etc.

Re:Really? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475975)

The problem here is that this is a local not global effect. Any magnet capable of lifting iron nails dwarfs the magnetic field of the Earth at a small scale.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477891)

If this is the case, even a small installation could be extremely good from a health standpoint, especially in the context of colonization. Though they would still be without the protective effects of the atmosphere, they would probably be protected from a significant amount of radiation.

Not as cheaply as you think. Sure, a SEMS will create a large magnetic field, but as soon as that field interacts with something, it weakens. If the field is deflecting large amounts of ionized particles, it's doing work on them. That energy must come from somewhere. Either the solar radiation keeps sapping the energy stored in the SEMS, or you need to keep powering it.

Remember: superconductors are called superconductors, not superfreeEnergyGenerators

Re:Really? (1)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475957)

We use superconductors for energy storage on earth. The refrigeration is not the limiting factor nor is it the most expensive part of the whole design. I don't see why they'd be any more useful on the moon really.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473555)

See http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-temperature-in-space.htm [wisegeek.com]

It says that space is ridiculously empty *on average*, so a molecule floating around in the middle of nowhere probably has virtually no energy (except the cosmic background radiation). This is why the average temperature of space is so low.

On the other hand, a molecule in our solar system gets hit by all sorts of radiation if it had direct line of sight with the sun, heating it to >40 kelvin.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474063)

The 3K temperature comes from the background radiation in `empty' space (mostly photons, but longer wavelengths than visible light). If you are close to a star like the sun, you clearly get a lot more radiating heat than that. Satelites, for example, have heat shields to protect them from getting too hot and melting. Similarly, the surface of the moon that is in direct sunlight gets quite warm, about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (about 125 degrees C, so above the boiling point of water, if it was at standard pressure).

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474679)

125 degrees C is indeed above the boiling point of water at 1 atm. However, 125C is NOT 75 degrees F. More like 257F.

We should all be glad that 75F is not above the boiling point of water, otherwise our bodies would turn to puffs of steam.

Re:Really? (1)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475305)

Good point. I'm not from the USA, so I converted it with google from celsius, for the benefit of the Yankees ;-) Not sure how I managed to mess it up, obviously 75 fahrenheit is not that warm!

Re:Really? (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474119)

I was of the understanding that revenge is a dish best served cold... and it's very cold... ON THE MOON!

Space Temperatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474527)

3K is the temperature of intergalactic space. The surface of the moon varies between 120K to 165K. The average temperature of a satellite orbiting the Earth varies between 250K and 300K (-10F to 80F); that's damn warm!

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474789)

Expansion of the Universe from the big bang gives us the around 3 degrees K for deep space. (Adiabatic expansion)

Well (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473335)

Personally, I would have guessed it would be farther away like a moon of Jupiter or Pluto. To have a very cold place so close to us is pretty cool(the cheese is burning me).

But does this have any practical use? Can we use this place for experiments of any kind or is it just pure knowledge?

Re:Well (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473361)

But does this have any practical use? Can we use this place for experiments of any kind or is it just pure knowledge?

Radiotelescopes (IR mainly) would have a great spot there. I suppose.

Re:Well (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473383)

> But does this have any practical use?

Yes. Mining water.

RTFA (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473473)

really. just read the article and then ask an intelligent question.

fta:

Shivering in at a mere 33 degrees above absolute zero, the regions are likely places to find deposits of water ice, a resource that would be in demand if astronauts ever live on the moon.

Re:Well (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473791)

It's like a giant refrigerator... we could store things that need to stay cold to be preserved, instead of wasting energy to refrigerate them. Elimiante the ongoing cost of continued refrigeration

We just gotta get them there. :)

Isn't that (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473359)

like saying "America has the best health care system in the world"? You wouldn't know if you haven't looked elsewhere?

Mod up (-1, Offtopic)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473465)

The point is valid

Re:Mod up (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473769)

Its valid but its also wrong. The american healthcare system sucks.

Re:Mod up (1, Funny)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475235)

It's right if you don't consider the other countries part of "the world." Which isn't too inaccurate for a lot of Americans.

"impossibly hot" (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473385)

Another instrument has returned hints of water ice in some of these cold spots, ... but it also showed signs of water ice in impossibly hot places, too.'" I wonder how much of that water is actually hydrated/hydrogen impregnated minerals and hydroxide compounds which probably are not lost as easily as water. Especially considering that their instruments detect the signature of hydrogen and the assumption is that it is chemically bound in water ice.

Not the coldest spot. (0, Redundant)

nethenson (1093205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473399)

It is not the coldest spot, it is simply the coldest *known* spot.

Re:Not the coldest spot. (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473807)

It is not the coldest spot, it is simply the coldest *known* spot.

To be intentionally pedantic, it's the coldest *measured* spot. We "know" spots like Triton that may qualify, but it has not been measured in the detail the moon has.
     

You mean "Coldest Naturally Occurring Spot" (4, Informative)

Scorpinox (479613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473425)

The coldest spot in the universe would be in Boulder Colorado where they do absolute zero experiments.

[source: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/phenom-200801.html ]

Re:You mean "Coldest Naturally Occurring Spot" (2, Funny)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473567)

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/phenom-200801.html

The speed of light, as we've all heard, is a constant: 186,171 miles per second in a vacuum. But it is different in the real world, outside a vacuum; for instance, light not only bends but also slows ever so slightly when it passes through glass or water. Still, that's nothing compared with what happens when [Lene Vestergaard] Hau shines a laser beam of light into a Bose-Einstein condensate: it's like hurling a baseball into a pillow. "First, we got the speed down to that of a bicycle," Hau says. "Now it's at a crawl, and we can actually stop itâ"keep light bottled up entirely inside the BEC, look at it, play with it and then release it when we're ready."

O.O

Since my boggled eyes probably won't constitute a worthy post, I guess I should add this [xkcd.com] . :) (it's a tiny bit relevant lol)

Re:You mean "Coldest Naturally Occurring Spot" (4, Informative)

Criliric (879949) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473597)

no where on that page does it say that they have made it to absolute zero... infact:

Physicists acknowledge they can never reach the coldest conceivable temperature, known as absolute zero and long ago calculated to be minus 459.67F.

Re:You mean "Coldest Naturally Occurring Spot" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474759)

That doesn't mean they can't do experiments related to absolute zero including attempts at approaching it.

He didn't say they did experiments "at" absolute zero.

Re:You mean "Coldest Naturally Occurring Spot" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29473867)

Since you can only approach absolute zero and not attain it and you replaced "solar system" with "universe", how do you know there aren't aliens elsewhere in the universe doing even colder "absolute zero experiments"?

Article is Inaccurate (1, Redundant)

Strat7 (1640347) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473511)

The coldest place in the solar system is obviously inside the heart of my ex-wife. And probably other Slashdotter exes!

Re:Article is Inaccurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474515)

55 minutes after the first post, saying the exact same thing. Really?

Heinlein knew it (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473541)

The moon is a frigid mistress

Re:Heinlein knew it (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475061)

The moon is a frigid mistress

Doesn't sound like Bob Heinlein to have a woman like that in his story. Come to think of it I can't think of one.

any ice there? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473561)

any ice there?

Re:any ice there? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476481)

Next month we'll find out. LCROSS [wikipedia.org]

Good thing US isn't going back to moon... (0, Troll)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473599)

... we'll just start bringing our global climate change to the moon and these pristine cold places will be gone forever.

Larry Niven, "The Coldest Place" (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473669)

Back when we though Mercury was tidally locked to the Sun (instead of being tidally locked to the Sun and Venus) Larry Niven wrote a short story "The Coldest Place", in which the backside of Mercury, always facing away from the Sun, was the coldest place in the solar system.

Good guess, Larry. Not quite right, but ... good going.

Re:Larry Niven, "The Coldest Place" (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475023)

That was actually Niven's first sale, and the news that Mercury wasn't locked in a 1:1 resonance came out between acceptance and publication. They decided to go ahead with it anyway. It's still a good story, it just takes place in a slightly alternate universe.

Re:Larry Niven, "The Coldest Place" (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479887)

It's still a good story, it just takes place in a slightly alternate universe.

Since Vermont was supposed to have passed the first organ bank laws in 1993 (The Jigsaw Man) and the first Mars landing was in 1996 (Eye of an Octopus) I think that's a given.

Pity, really. I was looking forward to learning what Hard and Soft Plith was.

On the other hand, it's probably a good thing that we've gotten past the attitudes displayed in How the Heroes Die.

Re:Larry Niven, "The Coldest Place" (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475081)

OTH the lunar poles might be a good place to "wait it out".

Minnesota (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473789)

So, Minnesota got bumped to 2nd?

"Moon Computing" replaces "Cloud Computing" (2, Funny)

BoldAndBusted (679561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29473821)

So, THIS is where the data centers in 2150 will be.... Will Amazon be selling "Moon Computing" then? :)

kuiper belt (1)

shadowblaster (1565487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474193)

What about craters in kuiper belt objects?

I would have thought these to be colder due to the distance from the sun.

Re:kuiper belt (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475581)

Yeah if they have a nice stable rotation perpendicular to the sun. The microwave background should be very slightly warmer in close to the sun because it gains energy falling down hill. OTH dust close in to the sun may slightly obscure the background, making shadowed places a bit cooler. Then the moon has a warmer core than a kuiper belt object, so maybe that is the biggest factor. Less heating from below.

obligatory #37 (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474269)

But the sun don't shine in Uranus either

Re:obligatory #37 (2, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474707)

Uranus needs to be renamed back to Herschel, after the guy who discovered it. Stupid jokes come up every time the planet is mentioned.

Re:obligatory #37 (1)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475005)

You can call Uranus whatever you want.

Re:obligatory #37 (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477571)

Uranus needs to be renamed back to Herschel, after the guy who discovered it. Stupid jokes come up every time the planet is mentioned.

Then you'd get "Herschy bars are coming out of Uranus", or "My Uranus Herschels really bad".
     

Re:obligatory #37 (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475105)

Lets leave my bathing habits out of this, shall we?

Neptune's L2 point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474371)

We've found Kuiper belt objects near Neptune's L4 and L5 points. If there are any stable objects in Neptune's L2 point (on the far side of Neptune), they would be pretty cold.

Neptune could give them a lot of shade from the Sun. Since it's further from the Sun, any objects they happened to run into would also be pretty cold.

Surface thermal gradient for energy? (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474443)

I wonder how practical it would be to tap a thermal gradient for energy on the moon, considering the surface temperature ranges from -153 C to 107 C.

Re:Surface thermal gradient for energy? (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474453)

I'm referring to the surface temps in the northern polar region, that is (which is more suitable for colonization). Source: http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/the-moon/temperature-of-the-moon/ [universetoday.com]

Re:Surface thermal gradient for energy? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475127)

These cold sinks are very small. You might be better off with a global system built around the equator. Fluid in a pipe around the equator heats up in the sun and cools in the shade. You could use thermoelectric to generate power, or just extract energy with turbines.

What could be colder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29474637)

Shadowed craters on Pluto maybe?

The HoneyMoon is over.... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474755)

First, craters faced and pock marks, cellulite like cottage cheese, and to top it off FRIGID. A "honeymoon" indeed. "One small step for man.....

Suprise to me... (1)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29474777)

...I thought the coldest places in the solar system were the moons of Neptune. You know, how like they're much further away from the Sun than our moon, and how they're highly reflective. They have volcanoes of liquid nitrogen on those moons for pete's sake.

Re:Suprise to me... (2, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475051)

They have volcanoes of liquid nitrogen on those moons for pete's sake.

But nitrogen freezes at 63 K, so that liquid nitrogen is at least twice as warm as the 33 K found on the Moon. Now, if those moons have craters at their poles that are permanently shielded from sunlight....

(Actually there are other factors in play, like the thermal conductivity of whatever the moon in question is made of, heating effects of tidal friction, etc.)

Oort Cloud? (2, Interesting)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29475403)

Does the Oort cloud count as part of the solar system, or is it beyond the heliosphere? Either way, it's gotta be a tad chilly out there.

Re:Oort Cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477465)

No see the Oort Cloud is what Xenu uses for a parking lot, so with all those fusion drives it gets pretty steamy over there, ya know what I mean.

Opinion: (1)

GReaToaK_2000 (217386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476015)

I understand the expense. I don't want all sorts of 'hub bub" about that.

Wouldn't it be handy to be able to use some of these naturally occurring spots within our solar system for experiments? Granted getting to these locations is tough and expensive, but that could be overcome with focus.

Then again societal focus has been missing from this country for about 30+ years.

What about earthshine? (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476189)

I'm no astrophysicist, but I remember seeing a video a couple years back that said Pluto gets much less light than the moon gets from earthshine. Earthshine should be warming up those crevices two weeks out of every four. So, does anybody know why that wouldn't make the crevices warmer than Pluto?

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

shadowblaster (1565487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476275)

The crater is a mormon, it does not consume earthshine.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476321)

The crater is a mormon , it does not consume earthshine.

Sorry, a "mormon"? Is that a typo? I've never seen a crater going door-to-door in a suit. ;-)

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29476473)

These craters are at Luna's South pole. Their interiors are shadowed both from the sun and from the Earth. Think about it. If Earthshine could reach them so could sunlight.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477339)

These craters are at Luna's South pole. Their interiors are shadowed both from the sun and from the Earth. Think about it. If Earthshine could reach them so could sunlight.

You're right. I should have done my homework.

However, you are wrong about shaded by from the Sun necessarily implying shaded from Earth, depending on orbit, rotation and tilt, up to half of the moon could be continually shaded from the Sun without being shaded from Earth.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477425)

> However, you are wrong about shaded by from the Sun necessarily implying
> shaded from Earth...

Not for the general case: consider the Earth-Sun L1 point. For the Moon specifically.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477557)

> However, you are wrong about shaded by from the Sun necessarily implying > shaded from Earth...

Not for the general case: consider the Earth-Sun L1 point. For the Moon specifically.

Sorry, you lost me as to what the Lagrange Points have to do with it.

I was thinking, if the Moon were tidally locked to the Sun instead of Earth (I know, not possible), or had one pole always tilted toward the Sun.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478379)

> Sorry, you lost me as to what the Lagrange Points have to do with it.

An object at Earth-Sun L1 tidally locked to the Earth would see Earthshine only.

> I was thinking, if the Moon were tidally locked to the Sun instead of Earth
> (I know, not possible), or had one pole always tilted toward the Sun.

There are all sorts of theoretical possibilities.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478461)

An object at Earth-Sun L1 tidally locked to the Earth would see Earthshine only.

Ah! I totally overlooked that possibility. There are two problems with that: it is L2, not L1; L2 is (just) outside the Earth's umbra. The Wikipedia article on Lagrangian points (L2) [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480369)

No. I said and meant L1.

Re:What about earthshine? (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29485785)

Urm? If it were at L1, the same thing would happen that happens at a solar eclipse. The Moon gets light from both sides. Nearly the whole Moon is illuminated. Unless the rotational axis of the Moon is near perfectly in the plane perpendicular to the line between Earth and Sun at that point, even the poles will be illuminated.

Is that what you mean, or do you mean something else?

If it were at L1, then tidal locking with the Earth would be unlikely, and so a well aligned axis would also be unlikely.

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