Silencing the crazy “Do not bomb the Moon” outcry

October 8, 2009 10:37 by scibuff

Tomorrow, the spaceflight part of NASA’s LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission will end as the two main components, the Shepherding Spacecraft (S-S/C) and the Centaur upper stage rocket, impact the Cabeus crater located about 100km from the Lunar south pole.

An artist's impression of the LCROSS spacecraft's Centaur stage crashing into the surface of the Moon. The LCROSS spaceraft will observe and record the impact and then it also will crash into the crater - Image Credit: NASA

An artist's impression of the LCROSS spacecraft's Centaur stage crashing into the surface of the Moon. The LCROSS spaceraft will observe and record the impact and then it also will crash into the crater - Image Credit: NASA

Immediately after the LRO/LCROSS launch on June 18, science illiterate members of the blog community started a campaign to stop NASA from “Bombing the Moon”; an act, which, according to them, was in a clear violation of the UN resolution 2222 written in the 1499th plenary meeting on December 19, 1966 – Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. I will not support this insanity by providing links here (just google “NASA Moon bombing”).

The arguments on blogs range from the creation of (up to) 8km deep crater, to the bombing constituting a hostile act against known extraterrestrial civilizations and settlements on the Moon allegedly observed by the crew of Apollo 11 (seriously?). Several magazines and newspapers (the likes of Scientific American, the Examiner and the UK Telegraph – no surprise there) jumped on the bandwagon featuring articles with an unfortunate (but I suspect a rather deliberate) word choice – “Moon bombing”.

Asteroid impact the Moon

Bombing can be defined as detonation (on impact) of an explosive devise producing a chemical action which causes a sudden formation of a great volume of expanded gas. In other words, nothing close to the events which are about to occur near the Moon’s south pole.

Let me assure you: the Moon is hit by space junk on regular basis. It has withstood this bombardment for billions of years and it will prevail for many billions to come. The flash in the sequence below was caused by a meteoroid about 25 cm in diameter traveling at 38 km/s. As such, although much smaller than either the (S-S/C) and the Centaur, the energy released in the impact is comparable with tomorrows impacts because this piece of rock was traveling fifteen times faster than LCROSS.

A meteoroid hits the Moon, May 2, 2006; video-recorded by MSFC engineers Heather McNamara and Danielle Moser.

A meteoroid hits the Moon, May 2, 2006; video-recorded by MSFC engineers Heather McNamara and Danielle Moser.

The Centaur upper stage will impact the lunar surface at around 11:31:20 UTC at -84.675, 311.275 E (in selenographical coordinates). NASA estimates the impact velocity of 2.5 km/s which will excavate more than 350 tonnes of lunar material and create a crater 20m in diameter with a depth of about 4m; in other words, nowhere near the sensational 8km (given the crater size, not even the Hubble Space Telescope will be able to see it under ideal conditions).

Using the nominal impact mass of 2,305kg and the velocity of 2.5km/s the kinetic energy of the spacecraft can be easily calculated as

E=\frac{1}{2}mv^{2}=0.5\times 2,503kg\times \left ( 2,500m\cdot s^{-1} \right )^{2} = 7,203,125,000\ J

E\simeq 7.2\times10^{9}\ J

Since a kiloton of TNT is equivalent to 4.184\times10^{12}\ J, the total energy released in the impact (under ideal conditions) is 0.001\ 72 kiloton of TNT; again, nowhere close to the 2 kiloton of TNT (which equals to 10% of the yield of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima) claimed by some authors. Furthermore, both the S-S/C and Centaur performed a blow-down maneuver to vent any remaining fuel inside the Centaur to help prevent contamination of the impact site and the ejecta material, thus there will be no explosion.

The Shepherding Spacecraft will impact the lunar surface roughly four minutes after the Centaur upper stage, at around 11:35:39 UTC at -84.729, 310.64 E, ejecting about 150 tonnes or material leaving behind a crater 14m wide and 2m deep.

LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft and Centaur upper stage impact sites - Source: NASA

LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft and Centaur upper stage impact sites - Source: NASA

As for the last argument, if you truly believe in the conspiracy to cover up the presence of an extraterrestrial civilizations on the Moon, reported in witnessed statements by astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and in witnessed statements to NSA (National Security Agency) photos and documents regarding an extraterrestrial base on the dark side of the Moon (let’s forget for a second that there is NO such thing as the “dark” side of the Moon), I applaud you for reading this far and let’s just leave it at that…

Moon Defence

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Comments

10

moonman

As for the last argument, if you truly believe in the conspiracy to cover up the presence of an extraterrestrial civilizations on the Moon, reported in witnessed statements by astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and in witnessed statements to NSA (National Security Agency) photos and documents regarding an extraterrestrial base on the dark side of the Moon (let’s forget for a second that there is NO such thing as the “dark” side of the Moon), I applaud you for reading this far and let’s just leave it at that…

BLAH BLAH BLAH

Anthony

Cause and Effect. We all know what happens when we bomb things here on the Earth. What gives anyone the right to bomb the moon? I can here it now oops “we didn’t think that would happen”, well guess what some of us have common sense. Why does the human race need to bomb anything? Looking for water???? Hahaha our planet is mostly water and of course there is RAIN! 2012 may end up being a major change. I really think bombing the moon is crazy!!!!

Paul

Food for thought. Take it or leave it.

Why are we trying to colonize space, hasn’t colonization caused enough problems here on earth? The whole thing is ridiculous, ridiculous, it is not about conspiracy issues, it is about extremely self important science wasting huge resources that could be focused on dealing with climate change, here, where the problem is. It is also a all to often repeated symbol of total disregard the magnificence of our reality and disregard for the importance of archetypes. What are the archetypal implications of the of the hyper masculine field of science bombing one of the quintessential symbols of the feminine?

Paul

Maybe not bombing, but symbolically close enough….

Concerned Citizen

Please do not meddle with a critical resource that belongs to all of humanity for the sake of a research project whose ends do not justify the means.

Michael McNeil

The above commenters are just as crazy as the blogger postings the author is debunking. Let’s consider some of their supposed points….

“Please do not meddle with a critical resource that belongs to all of humanity for the sake of a research project whose ends do not justify the means.”

Creating a crater 20 meters in diameter and 3 meters deep, so tiny it’s lost amongst the multitude of the remains of billions of earlier impacts on the Asia-sized Moon is hardly going to harm this “critical resource.” Indeed, it’s allowing us to prospect for what resources are actually there, and thus better make plans for how to sensibly make use of those resources.

“Why are we trying to colonize space, hasn’t colonization caused enough problems here on earth?”

In case one hadn’t noticed, there are no “Senenites” who might be harmed by having colonists move into the neighborhood. The Moon is a lifeless airless world, and it’s frankly nuts worrying about the “environmental” impact on a dead planet of having actual live colonists and their accompanying biosphere move into the neighborhood, where their products of manufacture and commerce might actually allow for the reducing of that burden on the Earth.

“What gives anyone the right to bomb the moon? I can here it now oops ‘we didn’t think that would happen’, well guess what some of us have common sense. Why does the human race need to bomb anything? Looking for water???? Hahaha our planet is mostly water and of course there is RAIN!”

Of course we have the “right”p to conduct a (really very minor in its effects) scientific experiment to learn what’s present on the Moon. The presence of plentiful water on Earth or anywhere else is irrelevant to the question of whether there’s water on the Moon, which is what this simple, probing experiment was designed to find out. As to the supposed bad consequences of doing so, the experiment of ramming impacting bodies into the Moon has been conducted by at least a dozen spacecraft (elsewhere on the Moon) and many billions of meteorites (all over the Moon), and all doing so again (with a very minor impact by comparison) could do is to jostle the rubble a bit at this specific point.

And why this particular spot was chosen was so as to identify if there’s water here at the perpetually shaded (and utterly cold; at almost −250° C the coldest locations in the Solar System) lunar poles, where there’s a possibility that water delivered to the Moon by earlier impacting comets might well have frozen out as ice.

What utter hysteria these folks are getting off on! Please get real, or at least stop seeking to impose your psychoses upon the rest of us.

Michael McNeil

“Senenites” → Selenites.

magnus

All though I`m aware that not all american`s are responsible for nasa`s actions, I do hold america as a nation, accountable for this attack. The Moon is not a property that you can sell ore exploit as you see fit.I do hope all you yankees, realize that you will bring war upon you`re self. the actions of of you`re nation, is in violation of the gods.And all mankind aswell. the moon is sacred.
You will suffer the consequences and as prophesied annihilate you`re self. Yellowstone caldera, might be the biggest physical sign.Catarina was one, but you are too blind to see. You have tipped the scale and the natural balance.In other words! You have made you`re own choice, and death of america is the sentence ….I don`t mean this as a threat, just a mere comment.Its not just you that will get affected ìn the whole…But… Because of your recklessness towards the earth and all of nature.Mother earth is compelled to strike back. I pity you!and you ignorance for what lies beyond the borders of you`re own selves. And even though I know 99% of all you readers will think of me as the crazy one… I`m the one that will have the last laugh :)

by the way… you should lay down you`re weapons aswell!! before you hurt you`re selves
like a child running whit scissors!it`s ur own damn fault! like 9/11 you have stepped on too many tow`s and retallitation is on its way!
Again I don`t mean this as a actually threat!
I`m not a terrorist whit guns.. but a comment of consequence…like karma :)

Magnus Hovgode of Norway

Natascha

How you can believe that bombing anything in the name of scientific research is admirable and worthy is beyond me. Your view is limited in the extreme. Perhaps if America chose to spend their 73 million on alternative fuel solutions or advancements in recycling water and irrigation schemes, the notion to bomb another planet to see if we can use it’s water, would be redundant? I think you will find, more people are worried about the way we polluted space for one and the reasoning behind this bombing for two, more than upsetting aliens and the like. Don’t use propaganda as a basis for your opinion, answer how you think this is a just cause as solution to water shortages in our planet?

vanessa b

do yall know god, or what he got,instore this is way from your knowledge.thinking is not knowing.If you know you can’t stop wind,huricains,snow,rain,and all that stuff you know you are justed.I dreamed i know what to do.no dream is the same. but mines come the same way. warning

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