Thursday, January 30, 2014

Way Beyond Cool...

Hey Space Placers!

I hope you got to see the Lunar Transit today as it was impressive (see my blog of 1-29-14). This pic from SDO was at about the half way point in the transit.

With this view of the Moon I thought it appropriate to share with you something that I found just way too cool - one lunar spacecraft photographing another while both are in lunar orbit. I am not aware of this being done for two unmanned spacecraft although it was common during the Apollo lunar landings  for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) to be photographed by the Command Module (CM).

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was able to photograph NASA's other active lunar spacecraft Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) 9 km below as both were zipping around at 3,600 mph - no small feat!


You have to look very closely at the center of the image to see the "streak" caused by LADEE. But take a look at the computer wizardry done with the image that allows us to really "see" LADEE. It is truly amazing.

The Moon is New today but will be gracing the evening skies in the west this weekend. When you look at the Moon wave to LRO, LADEE, Chang'e 3 and Yutu. I hope the little rover survives the lunar night but it is looking grim as preliminary indications are that one solar panel did not close all the way - perhaps that old lunar dust is to blame - thereby exposing the rover to the -250 degree F temp.

Sky Guy in Thawing VA

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