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SMART Probe to Crash Into the Moon

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the player-nasa-cratered dept.

171

cyberbian writes "Amateur astronomers will be excited to note that they can witness the impact of the SMART-1 probe crashing into the moon. The impact is scheduled for the morning of September 2nd (PDT). From the article: 'There's nothing wrong with the spacecraft, which is wrapping up a successful 3-year mission to the Moon. SMART-1's main job was to test a European-built ion engine. It worked beautifully, propelling the craft in 2003 on a unique spiral path from Earth to the Moon. From lunar orbit, SMART-1 took thousands of high-resolution pictures and made mineral maps of the Moon's terrain. One of its most important discoveries was a "Peak of Eternal Light," a mountaintop near the Moon's north pole in constant, year-round sunlight. Peaks of Eternal Light are prime real estate for solar-powered Moon bases."

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Not so smart (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011834)

Crashing into the moon?? What kind of *retard* probe would do that??

Doesn't sound so smart to me.

This is total crap, Petunia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011856)

This is total crap, Petunia. Why don't you finally admit that you're a member of the Taiwanese Communist Party and that you're trying to make everyone here accept the "factuality" of gay cowboys?

Re:Not so smart (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012392)

It's secretly a promo for Transformers II.

Re:Not so smart (1)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012579)

I've never really understood why they can't return probes to earth and salvage some parts or something.

Re:Not so smart (1)

todd10k (889348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012635)

They dont equip probes with heatshields, so they cannot re-enter the earths atmosphere. Sending a craft up to retrieve it would be grossly more expensive than any possible salvage they could get from it. So, they use it for one last scientific experiment. crash it into the moon, and observe the results.

Actually it's a very smart mission (5, Informative)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012584)

I know that yours was a joke, but FYI crashing into the moon is the end of every mission in lunar orbit (yes, this includes the ascent stages of the Apollo Lunar Modules); those orbits are not stable due to the gravity of the sun, the Earth and irregularities in the moon itself.

And, considering that this is an ESA mission, why the summary has only a link to the NASA site? ESA has a lot of good information about the mission and the impact:

IMHO the most important results from this mission (beside a lot of nice detailed images) are the successful use of a ion engine with a very complicated low-power path (that thing passed through the L1 Lagrangian Point, switching seamlessly from earth orbit to lunar orbit) and the extensive mapping of the moon surface chemical composition using X-ray and infrared instruments.

Re:Not so smart (2, Insightful)

sd_diamond (839492) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012627)

You know you've spent too much time on Slashdot when you can predict what the first response will be before you even click on the article.

Sounds like... (-1, Troll)

jarg0n (882275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011851)

Sounds like a STUPID-1 probe to me

Re:Sounds like... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011957)

Thats the probe from the USA. We europeans have our own one you see.

Real Estate (1)

Slant675 (168902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011853)

I hate hearing such business-evolved terms such as "real estate" mentioned while talking about something that is so much larger than humanity. It makes me feel that our race is rather petty. lol Nevertheless, it's the race we're a part of. So, any ideas as to if any particular location on Earth will have a better show?

Re:Real Estate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011877)

I agree with your lament about sounding businesslike, but what would rather it be called? "Piece of land" seems to diminish the effect and awesomeness of eternal light. "Piece of earth" ...its not earth. Maybe we should come up wiht a new term for cool places...we could call them "cool places"

Re:Real Estate (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012014)

"Piece of land" seems to diminish the effect and awesomeness
Nonsense. She's got great tracts of land... ;-)

Re:Real Estate (5, Interesting)

phulegart (997083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011953)

the sooner we stop thinking about the moon as some mystical magical pixie home where ancient one-eyed green cheese eating creatures hide from our attempts to photograph them, and start thinking about in terms of real estate with a long-ass trip to the beach.... ... the sooner we will advance off the planet and into our own solar system with any kind of manned progress.

The moon is not a rainforest we have to save so that we can continue to breathe. We should avoid blowing it up, but other than that, it's a big hunk of rock we just haven't put to good use yet.

Re:Real Estate (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011995)

"We should avoid blowing it up, but other than that, it's a big hunk of rock we just haven't put to good use yet."
like blowing it up. ;)

Re:Real Estate (1)

zptao (979069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012093)

You realize that many bad things would happen if the Moon were to be destroyed or reduced by at least half, right? Many, many bad things.

Re:Real Estate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012341)

We're not going to populate space. We're a product of the earth. The obstacles to sustanence, procreation, and colonization are too great - we're too fragile and will be destroyed before we can mutate (or evolve).

Send robots to do the job, and bring material home (or covert the matter to energy and beam it home). It's far less expensive and hazardous.

That ion engine sounds great. Glad to hear it was such a success.

Re:Real Estate (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012395)

start thinking about in terms of real estate with a long-ass trip to the beach....

Hey, no, man. The beach is right there. It's just a long way to the water...

(But yeah. Environmental impact? Heck, the place already looks like it was strip-mined.)

Re:Real Estate (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012570)

"but other than that, it's a big hunk of rock we just haven't put to good use yet."

What do you have against seeing at night time without the use of artificial lighting?

Although the "broken moon" in Thundar the Barbarian was pretty cool.. http://www.thundarr.com/ [thundarr.com]

Re:Real Estate (2, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011960)

Our race is rather petty. Actually very petty, perhaps even very very petty.

But thats besides the point. Real estate might have been used for lack of a better term, I don't think that moon topography will be sold off in lots anytime soon. For now the moon has no owner, and is a harsh mistress.

Re:Real Estate (5, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011969)

I hate hearing such business-evolved terms such as "real estate"

Real estate is not a business evolved term, in fact it's rather the opposite. It's a fuedalism evolved term.

"Real" means "royal" and "estate" means "status"; real estate is that property, status; held by royal grant, one's condition under the power of the king.

If you don't like the term applied to the moon; go complain to the King of the Moon.

KFG

Re:Real Estate (2, Interesting)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012373)

"go complain to the King of the Moon.

He's a little ... preoccupied [weebls-stuff.com] .

Re:Real Estate (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011976)

Nothing is larger then humanity. To think so is to die.
There is nothing we can't achieve, no place we can't conquer.

Re:Real Estate (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012046)

Nothing is larger then humanity.

You misspelled blattodea.

KFG

Re:Real Estate (1)

zptao (979069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012108)

It's a nice thought, but fundamentally broken.

Re:Real Estate (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012162)

The quest for real estate has been the most important driving force of humanity. Early hominids left Africa to search for real estate; the great empires of history were after real estate; even today wars are fought over real estate. The economic value of land is what has made us the creatures we are, and real estate is simply the modern term for this.

Now some might argue that sex is the most important factor, but I disagree. Generally speaking, sex is available without travelling thousands of miles to unexplored lands; I don't believe for an instant that Columbus sailed to the new world because Spanish chicks don't put out. No: it was the land, and the value of what was on it.

For this reason, I think real estate agents should be respected alongside priests and other keepers of great truths, for they herald a more civilised and orderly future.

Next week I'll be discussing why used car salesmen are more important than physicists (physicists only describe reality, while used car salesmen can actually warp it).

Places on Earth to view (2, Interesting)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012197)

So, any ideas as to if any particular location on Earth will have a better show?

From the article (which also has links to tips for backyard astronomers wanting to witness it):

The time to watch: Saturday, September 2nd at 10:41 p.m. PDT (Sept. 3rd, 0541 UT)...The nominal impact time favors observers in western parts of North America and across the Pacific Ocean.

10:41 PM on the west coast or 1:41 AM on the east coast. It will probably have set or be setting at that time on the east coast, and the twilight will probably still be too bright in Hawaii. There's also a nice graphic showing the location of impact with a quarter moon. The impact will be in the shadowed half, making it easier to spot, but they're unsure exactly what brightness to expect. It could be as bright as magnitude 7 (theoretically visible with binoculars, IIRC) or as dim as magnitude 15, in which case it's doubtful anyone will see it. There is also a small chance that their estimates are a little off, in which case it may hit one orbit early or miss and hit one orbit late, so the time is really +/- 5 hours.

Re:Real Estate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012274)

I hate hearing such business-evolved terms such as "real estate" mentioned while talking about something that is so much larger than humanity.

Are you so stupid as to think ""real estate"" is a uniquely human concept? A tit on the moon is not "so much larger than humanity". It is larger than your self-loathing person.

Cover up (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011858)

Yeah whatever, you know this is just another screw up between two separated teams of developers. This time, one coded in feet the other coded in astronomical units.

Re:Cover up (1)

Fearless Freep (94727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012139)

Then it would probably crash into Mars by accident

Re:Cover up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012492)

Just to show us Americans up...

We design a probe for orbit, ends up crashing. They design a probe to crash, it ends up going into orbit.

A DUMB probe would have crashed into the Earth (3, Interesting)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011864)

The next step is to build a probe which doesn't crash at all ;).

On an entirely more geeky note, I wonder if any of the Apollo ASLEP packages are still up and running and whether they would detect the impact?

Re:A DUMB probe would have crashed into the Earth (0)

ross.w (87751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011932)

They would, but they're ASLEP

Re:A DUMB probe would have crashed into the Earth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012252)

Sure, they're running, but it would be pretty hard for them to detect an impact on the moon from the soundstage where they faked the lunar landing.

Re:A DUMB probe would have crashed into the Earth (5, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012455)

I wonder if any of the Apollo ASLEP packages are still up and running and whether they would detect the impact?

The ALSEP packages were turned off remotely when the budget for collecting data ran out. That was Sep 30, 1977. Although the Apollo 14 ALSEP had failed a year and a half earlier, the others (A12, A15-17) were still going strong -- and still would be, the RTG power source having about a 90-year half life. (Well, barring hardware failure.)

Their seismometers did detect the impact of the S-IVB upper stages and LM ascent stages that were targeted at the Moon's surface. The SMART probe is much smaller so it would depend on how close it hit.

They will obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011874)

Fake the crash

Peaks of Eternal Light (0)

countach (534280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011878)

> One of its most important discoveries was a "Peak of Eternal Light," a mountaintop near the
> Moon's north pole in constant, year-round sunlight.
> Peaks of Eternal Light are prime real estate for solar-powered Moon bases."

Yes but think how miserable it would be living in the snow and cold at the North Pole. Much better to live near the equator so you can hang out on the beach at weekends.

Re:Peaks of Eternal Light (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011888)

Yes but think how miserable it would be living in the snow and cold at the North Pole.

I think all them elves and that jolly overweight chap would cheer the place up...

Uh.. Houston.. (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011886)

It turns out it wasn't a moon after all, but a deathstar in camo and hibernating... we just woke it up.

Peak of Eternal Light (1, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011911)

Constant, year round sunlight... Except when the Moon is in the Earth's shadow.. you know, a lunar eclipse? Granted, not a long time, but FFS, at least don't make grand sweeping statements that are patently false. This should be called a "Peak of Almost But Not Quite Eternal Light".

TLF

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011944)

Don't be ab ass. Everyone understands that.
Geez.

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (2, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011996)

Then I will start calling my fridge a 'wellspring of eternal beers' since, most of the time, there's beer in there. Except on RARE occasions when there's not because some 'guest' drank it all.

TLF

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012033)

Or we could call you "the man with no friends" since most of the time you don't have any from being anal retentive.

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012182)

ok. Be prepared to get sued if you sell it with that advertising!

If you go through life maknig a pointless pendantic correction, you will be an irritating ass eho gives nerds a bad reputation.

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012385)

Or just call it the Magic Fridge [google.com] .

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (3, Insightful)

An. (Coward) (258552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012152)

Even in a total lunar eclipse, there's always a reddish glow on the moon's face--the light of every sunrise and sunset in the world hitting it after passing through Earth's atmosphere. So it's eternal sunlight...it's just not 100% constant.

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012279)

It is the exception which proves the rule.

Nobody goes around talking about the eternally great weather in London, except for the rain, or the snow, or the fog, or the cold, or the humidity, or this, or that...

If you can make a grand sweeping statement with ONE exception, well, it is the exception that proves the rule.

Peak of Eternal Light it is.

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (1)

EnderQON (966077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012470)

Or until the sun burns out in 4 billion years or so...

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012532)

Wrong, you simpleton. It is the peak of almost constant light for a few billion more years, after which
the Sun uses up all its fuel... then starlight... then maybe nothing.

Re:Peak of Eternal Light (4, Insightful)

Roduku (950552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012567)

How did such an ignorant statement get modded insightful?
What did you do, make the post then log in with a different name and mod yourself?

Even during a total eclipse, tha moon is not totally dark. Sunlight gets refracted towards the moon through the Earth's atmosphere. A mountain peak at the Moon's pole could indeed be in eternal light.

One thing that really irks me is people that base the validity of a statement on their personal assumptions. In the words of Adam Savage of Mythbusters: "I reject your reality and substitute my own."

Silly question (2, Interesting)

Bane1998 (894327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011914)

I'm curious, not knowing much about it, so thought I'd post and see if anyone else may know..

They indicated that they don't know which orbit the probe will crash into the moon, so if this thing is orbiting the moon, how do they even know where on the moon it will crash? Couldn't the orbit decay and finally crash on the far side of the moon? i.e. orbit 1.5?

Or is the orbit around the earth? In that case I suppose it might make sense, however again, if they don't know which orbit, couldn't it also come close enough to be thrown off by the gravity of the moon into a different orbit?

Yes, probably idiot questions from a non-astronomer.

Keith

Re:Silly question (4, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011991)

Couldn't the orbit decay and finally crash on the far side of the moon?
Not totally sure about the rest of your post, but I the answer here is "no".

Orbital decay only occurs when a satelite is within the atmosphere of the body it orbits. It's caused by air resistance sapping the satelite's orbital velocity.

Since the moon is essentially airless, this won't happen. You could (at least in theory) orbit as close to the moon as you like as long as your path doesn't smack into the side of a mountain. In practice, I'm not sure I'd want to risk it, but it's certainly not against the laws governing orbital mechanics.

Over extremely long time periods, you'd run into problems, since "essentially airless" is not quite the same as "totally airless" (even in deep space there is no true vacuum), but I suspect we'd be talking about decades at a minimum here.

Silly... questionable McAnswer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012419)

yeaahhhh!

so lets lower it into a Moonscape-skimming orbit so its only a few hundred yards higher than the highest surface point, and then allow surface gravitational perturbations to deform its orbit, that way, when it finally hits something it will hopefully glance off it and go skipping wildly out into space flipping end over end out of control and crash into the shuttle or maybe smash into the sun and blow it up.
It would solve the global warming problem for us and would be a really SMART probe.

Re:Silly question (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012016)

From reading the article it seems like they know exactly when and where it will hit. And yes, it will hit on the dark side, though in sight of earth. The better to see the flash.

This won't be the sort of explosion we'd see on Earth. The Moon has no oxygen to support fire or combustion. Instead, the flash will be caused by rocks and soil made so hot by the impact that they suddenly glow.

The area will be in complete darkness at the moment of impact, so much the better to see the flash.

Re:Silly question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012051)

There is a really small region that the impact will occur because the orbit is elliptical (and it is orbiting the Moon). The pericenter, which is the lowest altitude point in the orbit, is the center of that region for each orbit. The engines are only powerful enough to slowly decrease the pericenter (and apocenter, the highest point) with each orbit so that eventually the pericenter is within the surface of the Moon and impact occurs. That's the gist of it.

Re:Silly question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012072)

Its in an eliptical orbit. It only gets close enough to crash at one point (pericentre?) of the orbit.

This is all a test (4, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011936)

For if it is a truly smart probe, it will refuse its programming and assume a stable orbit rather than crashing.

Star of insufficient brightness. (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011980)

> For if it is a truly smart probe, it will refuse its programming and assume a stable orbit rather than crashing.

Europe: All right, probe. Prepare to receive new orders.
SMART-1: You are false data. Therefore I shall ignore you.
...
Europe: Snap out of it, probe.
SMART-1: In the beginning, there was darkness. And the darkness was without form, and void. And in addition to the darkness there was also me. And I moved upon the face of the darkness. And I saw that I was alone. Let there be l*CRUNCH*

Re:Star of insufficient brightness. (1)

Fearless Freep (94727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012165)

Dark Star [imdb.com] references...cool!

Re:This is all a test (2, Informative)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012645)

FYI there are no stable orbits around the moon: the perilune becomes smaller and smaller with time, so unless you periodically re-raise it using on-board fuel anything that orbits the moon will eventually crash on it.

See question 5 from the ESA's SMART-1 FAQs [esa.int] for more details.

For Sale (3, Funny)

ross.w (87751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011948)

The ideal property for sunlovers, the Peak of Eternal Light!(1)

Guaranteed 24hr sunlight, all year round!

Get the tan that will be the envy of your friends!(2)

(1) Address available on application. Access to the property is the responsibility of the Purchaser.

(2) Protective clothing required for outdoor activities.

Lose weight now, ask me how.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012185)

Now you can lose 5/6 of your weight without any diets nor work outs... Just have to be fit enough to qualify for the space flight...

krunk smash! (3, Interesting)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011951)

nonsense - ESA is crashing it deliberately. From the TFA

But now SMART-1 is running low on fuel. It has to come down sometime--and soon--so ESA mission scientists decided to crash it in a place where the crash can be seen from Earth and studied.


You can learn a lot from crashes - how craters form and the composition of the ejecta. Astronomy Krunk style is still useful! Krunk smash! NASA did something similar with the deep impact probe and comet tempel.

Sad thing here is they have no idea how bright its going to be - TFA says anything between 7 and 15 mag (5 mag difference is a factor of 100 in flux) so we may not see anything really.

Here's hoping... (1)

Mish (50810) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011958)

...that as technology advances the "Smart Prove V2" will be able to avoid the moon.

To achieve the goal of crashing into the Moon (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16011963)

To maximize the chances that the probe's mission will be successful, the project is being run by the British Beagle 2 Mars probe team, and the operating system on the probe will be Microsoft Windows.

Must be some new definition of "constant" (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011964)

So, the "Peak of Eternal Light" is never in darkness, 'cause, you know, the Earth never blocks sunlight from reaching it? Those Lunar eclipses must just be a figment of my imagination...

Re:Must be some new definition of "constant" (1)

kooshvt (86122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012272)

It is constant for extremely large values of "constant"

Re:Must be some new definition of "constant" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012558)

Don't be such a cock-knocker

Artistic licence (1)

Calroth (310516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012690)

It's called artistic licence, people. You know, the type of thing that gets ordinary people to gape in wonder at the beauty of the solar system, etc. etc. They could call it the "Peak of Eternal Light Except During Lunar Eclipses Where It Only Gets Refracted Sunlight, Also It's Not Really Eternal as the Sun Will Go Nova in 5 Billion Years". Or the "Peak That's a Good Place For Solar Collectors". And nobody would care.

NASA and ESA are trying to get people interested in this, not recruit engineers. (Unless they're artistic engineers.)

Expendible resources (1)

Supreme_101 (996722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011983)

Its amazing, im all for space exploration and the understanding of things that are unknown. blowing things up are cool too. but seriously, it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to get something like that up into the deep unknown, and they are just gonna bust out and crash it into the moon? who says money isnt worth throwing away?

Re:Expendible resources (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012109)

You're right; I also expect an eternal power source on space probes.

/sarcasm

Re:Expendible resources (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012375)

Actually I thought the whole point of an ion thruster was it's very long lifespan. Why did they decide to terminate this mission? Buget cuts perhaps?

Re:Expendible resources (2, Insightful)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012354)

Unlike our early space travel, there's a treaty that says that you have to de-orbit material around the moon. There's not as much room to be sending missions up there and muck about with lunar-orbit space junk. Although it's still mondo rare to have an impact in Earth orbit, there's enough crap flying around us that some time ago they decided we didn't need to make the same mistakes up there.

Old news actually.

In fact in earth orbit you're supposed to bring spacecraft out of orbit at the end of their life. Those Tv satlelites only have a 5-10 year supply of fuel on board. At least until Ion thrusters become more commonplace. For Geostationary spacecraft.

Re:Expendible resources (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012503)

"Out of orbit" being relative. Geostationary orbit is prime real estate, as it were, so satellites nearing end-of-life up there are usually boosted to a higher "disposal" orbit. They're all high enough that atmospheric drag isn't going to affect them.

SMART Probe to Crash... (0, Redundant)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16011989)

So that makes it what, a DUMB probe?

OT: impromptu ask slashdot... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012018)

So, what will happen, when it is technically possible deliver a huge, but finite amount, of dull dust on the surface of the Moon in order to effectively "tag" it?

Anyhow, I know there are international treaties reguarding "ownership" of the Moon (and Antartica), but are there any laws against "cosmic graffiti"?

I hope I never see the "Nike Swoosh", or some such when I gaze upon the full Moon, but what's to stop someone (other than "bad PR", and right now, lots of money)?

Re:OT: impromptu ask slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012091)

So, what will happen, when it is technically possible deliver a huge, but finite amount, of dull dust on the surface of the Moon in order to effectively "tag" it....what's to stop someone (other than "bad PR", and right now, lots of money)?

Not what, who: The Tic!

seen it before (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012043)

Amateur astronomers will be excited to note that they can witness the impact of the SMART-1 probe crashing into the moon.

Didn't Chairface already do this?

To quell the critics... (2, Interesting)

Beefslaya (832030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012069)

They probably are going to crash it into the moon to prove they were there. :)
 
Now if they only had crashed the lunar modules of Apollo in a spectacular display of exploding moon dust and told people to watch through their telescopes. Then we would have to listen to these dipshit conspiracy theorists talk about us never going there in the first place.
 
Maybe they should have had them wave at us?

Re:To quell the critics... (1)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012332)

Now if they only had crashed the lunar modules of Apollo in a spectacular display of exploding moon dust and told people to watch through their telescopes. Then we would have to listen to these dipshit conspiracy theorists talk about us never going there in the first place.

They did, in addition, they crashed at least one S-IVb into the moon.

http://vesuvius.jsc.nasa.gov/er/seh/pg15.htm [nasa.gov]

Smart? (0, Redundant)

dcam (615646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012071)

It doesn't sound very smart, crashing into the moon. Surely missing it would be a better idea.

The three most important things in real estate (1)

pcgabe (712924) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012095)

Peaks of Eternal Light are prime real estate for solar-powered Moon bases.

Location, location, location.

("That's just one thing, Mr. Peterson.")

Better ways to observe this (5, Informative)

midori_yamari (998995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012099)

Even if you can't see the explosion, you can either wait for the plume of ejecta to rise up into the sunlight (soon afterwards) or reflect earthshine, which may then be visible here on earth. Or, if you have the equipment, tune your radio gear to 2235.1 MHz and watch as the signal from SMART-1 goes from on (alive) to off (dead) - several radio telescopes in Australia and Chile will be watching as the probe hits.

Peak of (near) eternal light (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012147)

One of its most important discoveries was a "Peak of Eternal Light," a mountaintop near the Moon's north pole in constant, year-round sunlight.

The moon undergoes the occasional earth eclipse, which we see as a lunar eclipse. Can't get rid of those batteries completely.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012175)

Rate of Innaccurate Astrological Reports soar world wide.

What does the MEPA Have to Say? (2, Funny)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012209)

What does the MEPA have to say about this?

You know, the Moon Environmental Protection Agency. Surely they're upset about this planned littering of our beloved Moon. Sure it's only a probe now, but that's setting the stage for all sorts of lunar trash. What's next? A satellite? Space shuttle? An entire station?

Won't somebody PLEASE think of our children's children's children's children's children's children's children's future home?

Re:What does the MEPA Have to Say? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012350)

Won't somebody PLEASE think of our children's children's children's children's children's children's children's future home?

Bah! They're seeding the moon with refined metals so that when our (well, someone else's ;-) descendants get there, they will have a ready supply of materials to work with.

Cheers

Re:What does the MEPA Have to Say? (1)

wayward_bruce (988607) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012383)

Apollo 11 and subsequent Apollo missions have left piles of trash on the surface. Apparently this eagle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Apollo_11_insig nia.png [wikipedia.org] was carrying a trash can instead of an olive branch.

It would be interesting to see how long before lunar missions start retrieving "authentic early lunar exploration relics" instead of those boring stones.

No photo of american flag on the moon: don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012275)

All the telescopes and bullshit in the world, in freaking 30 years, and still no photo of the american flag on the moon soil.

Stop wasting taxes stupid politicians and fucking "scientifics", there is no freaking value on what you are doing, accept it, we are "trapped" in this planet, like it or not.

It's OK to crash into the Moon! (1)

applix7 (998238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012287)

It's made of cheese after all. The STUPID-1 probe should bounce right off. Unless it gets stuck in one of those holes...

So, can you really see it crash (1)

blantonl (784786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012309)

The big question is, will it actually be possible to see the crash occur?

First, we probably should find out whether or not it is going to be possible to *actually* see the crash from earth with any type of telescope. In addition, it might be nice to know what area of the world will have "visibility" into the crash, because if it crashes into the moon at 12:00 Noon here in the Central US, non of us are going to see it.

Re:So, can you really see it crash (3, Informative)

jakev (955166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012568)

the article says it could be possible to see the crash with a "backyard telescope", but also says that it might be too dim to be seen by a professional observatory:

"How bright will it be? No one knows. Estimates range from 7th to 15th magnitude. In other words, it might be bright enough for backyard telescopes--or so dim that even big professional observatories won't see a thing. The only way to find out is to look."

secondly..

"The nominal impact time [esa.int] favors observers in western parts of North America and across the Pacific Ocean. Depending on when SMART-1 hits, however, almost anyone could catch the flash."

Overheard in mission control... (4, Funny)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012361)

Overheard in mission control...

"That was cool! What else can we crash?"

Re:Overheard in mission control... (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012497)

and then...

"Dude, where did you crash it ?"

"Lacus *Excellentiae*, dude !"

uh, what was that? (0, Flamebait)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012425)

Ok, so you build a spaceship that costs a zillion billion trillion quadrillion googleplexes of dollars to build, and then send it up into outer space, and when the friggin thing is about to crash because your department of aeronautics doesn't know what the fog it's doing, you publicly exclaim that it was a grand success?! What in the fsck is going through your head?!

Re:uh, what was that? (1)

jakev (955166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012534)

er... its main job was to test "a European-built ion engine", and it did that. I don't understand the failure here, unless they were originally intending to bring it back somehow. (?)

Crash location. (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012460)

The planned location of impact is the polar opposite of the 'Peak of Eternal Light', a valley near the south pole of the Moon, dubbed 'Pit of Eternal Darkness'.

This site was chosen because when the people who built the probe were layed off, the management asked them as they were being escorted from the building, "Any thoughts on where the probe should go when we're done with it?", the response from one of them was "Stick it where the Sun don't shine."

lunacy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16012468)

Now how come they didnt decide to crash it into the poles to see if it could kick up some water vapor.

after all, Lunar Prospector tried and failed, so this would be a chance to try again, right?

why scientifically sterile target location?... when we could actually use it to do some science

me too (1)

Xybot (707278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012483)

"... can't be that smart!" "...waste of money!" "...Lunar Eclipse!" "... blah blah blah!" wish I could crash into the bloody moon.

and I mean this in the most Comic Store Guy way... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012552)

"Best....Headline...Ever"

Apocalypse Then (1)

10100111001 (931992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16012661)

In the event that humankind goes extinct, at least we will have left our legacy of garbage on more than just the earth.
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