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  Space Cover 36: LCROSS Impact on the Moon

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 36: LCROSS Impact on the Moon
yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 12-21-2009 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 36 (December 21, 2009)

Space Cover #36, LCROSS Impact on the Moon

Water on the Moon? For future long term lunar exploration water is a crucial resource to find on the moon because it would not be practical to transport to space the amount of water needed for human needs.

NASA selected a team of MMT Observatory astronomers as one of four ground-based telescope teams to observe the moon on impact with its Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission, known as LCROSS, which would impact the Moon on October 9, 2009 in an attempt to detect water.

The LCROSS mission consisted of a shepherding spacecraft and a rocket weighing as much as a large SUV that hit the moon at about 5,600 mph, excavating a crater about a third as wide as a football field and about as deep as the deep end of a swimming pool.

Instruments aboard the shepherding spacecraft were designed to search for evidence of water ice on the moon as the rocket collides with a permanently shadowed crater near one of the moon's poles.

Researchers predicted that impact debris plumes reaching 30 miles high would be visible from Earth with telescopes as small as 10 to 12 inches in diameter.

MMTO used state-of-the-art instruments to observe the expanding debris plume concurrently at three different wavelengths.

The ordinary looking cover shown above is a general printed envelope used by MMT Observatory for business mailings. The envelope was mailed on the date of the LCROSS impact with a Tucson AZ cancel. "Official" envelopes from participating institutions for space events are relatively scarce but can be found - usually in dollar boxes as they don't have spacific cachets dipicting the events. Keeping a list of events and their particiapting locations can result in great additions to ones collection.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 12-21-2009 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those of us who haven't kept up with ground-based telescopes, what's a MMT?

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 12-21-2009 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pooz - short answer is I don't know... even the observatory brochure on the MMT Observatory web site just lists the name as "MMT Observatory" and none of the links have any reference to what the initials stand for. From the brochure:
MMT Observatory
The MMT is operated by the MMT Observatory (MMTO), a joint venture of the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution. The MMT, located on the summit of Mt. Hopkins (the second highest peak in the Santa Rita Range of the Coronado National Forest) is 59 kilometers (38 miles) south of Tucson, Arizona. The MMT is on the grounds of the Smithsonian Institution's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory. Whipple Observatory also operates an administrative complex and Visitor Center at the base of Mt. Hopkins in Amado, Arizona.
My guess would be "Multiple Mirror Telescope."

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 12-21-2009 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yup, you hit it right on the head, Tom!

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-22-2009 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Seeing Tom's official envelope canceled to mark the recent LCROSS impact on the moon, reminded me of an official envelope of mine of years ago that I just located.

It's a Rockwell International Space Division 7" company envelope that I obtained from Rockwell and then sent to the KSC post office to be cacheted (with NASA/KSC official cachet) and canceled for the ASTP launch. Rockwell's Space Division was the maker of the Apollo Command Modules.

Perhaps other collectors have other official envelopes canceled for relevant space events? If so, contact Tom or I.

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 12-24-2009 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom and gang, the following may be helpful (source):
The MMT Observatory (MMTO) is an astronomical observatory on the site of Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory.

The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and is their largest field installation outside of their main site in Cambridge, Mass.

The MMTO is the home of the MMT (formerly Multiple Mirror Telescope), which currently has a primary mirror of 6.5 m in diameter.

The name originally comes from the fact that the light gathering for the telescope which was done by six smaller mirrors before the current primary mirror was installed.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, a happy Holiday, and a bright New Year!

Best regards, Steve

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 12-24-2009 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for educating me on MMT's guys!

And in the spirit of LCROSS, I wish all of you a..."Smashing" Holiday!

All times are CT (US)

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