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View Full Version : LRO press conference, 2009-09-17



Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:01 PM
In progress!

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:04 PM
They're burning.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:08 PM
Craig Tooley, project manager:

LRO gone operational last Tuesday, can talk about what we've done vs. what we plan to do. Reviewing commissioning phase. All systems "performing flawlessly." "Self-portrait" image in press release.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:08 PM
They say instruments have been working almost flawlessly since start of the mission.

They made a low pass over the south pass at 30km compared to a nominal 50km for their main orbit.

They have an instrument called CRATER. These are backronyms, aren't they? They call it CRATER and then find something for it to stand for.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:11 PM
Mike Wargo, lead scientist? (didn't catch credit, but this is close):

All results preliminary but still intriguing. Simple theories are not holding up, need more complicated ones.

Talking about CRATER cosmic ray instrument, looking at radiation environment in space. Instrument is the "hood ornament" for LRO - looking at illustration of s/c. Mimics the way radiation would affect human tissue. Radiation in free space twice what it is near Moon, also depended on whether at periselene or aposelene, more radiation the higher s/c is in its orbit.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:12 PM
I ToSeeked you by 7 minutes. Might want to do some merging.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:17 PM
They say the temperature in permanently shadowed regions is low enough to allow retention of volatiles, which in this context means water.

They keep talking "degrees Kelvin", which is annoying.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:19 PM
They're assuming hydrogen detection means water detection. How freaky would it be if the hydrogen was actually hydrocarbon?

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:22 PM
Rich ?, another scientist, to talk about remote sensing instruments:

"First few entries in the new LRO atlas of the Moon".

Diviner lunar radiometer experiment - measures temperature of the lunar surface. Showing first two composite maps, maximum daytime temperatures and minimum nighttime temperatures. Poles have distinctive behavior: permanently shadowed areas never get above 35K, more than cold enough to retain water, possibly coldest regions currently known in the solar system.

Mini-RF experiment - radar system. Showing radar map of lunar south pole, including Cabeus A where LCROSS will smack down next month.

Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) - high-resolution neutron spectrometer. If shortage of low-energy neutrons, indicates presence of hydrogen. Map of lunar south pole, showing these areas. Confirms that there is hydrogen in south polar region but isn't confined to permanently shadowed areas. (Hydrogen implies water.)

Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) - very sensitive UV instrument, only turned on the past few weeks, only a few passes over south pole. Looks for signature of water frost by UV absorption. Suggestions of frost in Faustini and Cabeus, but not conclusive.

LRO camera - two narrow-angle cameras, one wide-angle. Already a bunch of images released. Showing Shackleton crater at the south pole, zooming in in breathtaking fashion. 1 meter resolution. One image = 1 gigabyte of data.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:26 PM
The English dude reminds me of footage of old BBC current affairs programmes.

aacmckay
2009-Sep-17, 05:29 PM
Now that they're closer are they planning on re-imaging the lander sites? I'd love to see some higher resolution images of those locations.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:30 PM
Dave Smith:

LOLA, lunar laser altimeter. Provides information about altitude and roughness. Will map entire surface of Moon. Framework of all the other observations since it will locate everything. Yet another map of the south pole, very reminiscent of the Mars MOLA maps. Animation showing coverage so far. South pole coverage almost but not quite full. Will fill in the gaps in the coming months. Haven't processed all the data yet, only about half so far.

"Sunlit" image of south pole created from LOLA data. Showing altitude profile across Shackleton. Crater sides have 30 degree slope, very steep. Very rough inside crater, variations of 5-10 meters over 25-30 meter horizontal distance. 2.9 seconds of data!

Inside of Shackleton in complete darkness for the past couple of billion years, ever since it was formed. Typical of a number of other craters.

ugordan
2009-Sep-17, 05:30 PM
Now that they're closer are they planning on re-imaging the lander sites?
Yes.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:33 PM
Q&A:

If hydrogen found in areas not in shadow, how does it stick around?

Couldn't last on surface but might be buried, slowly diffusing. Don't know how much or how deep. Or else might be a product of the solar wind and be right on the surface.

Why not spotted before?

Seen before by Apollo and Lunar Prospector but only in smaller quantities.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:35 PM
Inside of Shackleton in complete darkness for the past couple of billion years, ever since it was formed. Typical of a number of other craters.

And we go mess it up by shining torches inside it.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:36 PM
Some technical question about resolution of LEND compared with the Lunar Prospector instrument.

LP had 90 km resolution, LEND 30 km. About 60 days of observations so far.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:40 PM
Is 35k cold temperature as expected? How does it compare with other places in solar system?

Scientist is kind of deflecting question: "depends on the models."

Mentioning Pluto as an alternative, but kind of vaguely.

Why are volatiles so important?

Would like to understand the history of volatiles in the solar system. Early history of Earth lost, but might be preserved on the Moon.

Also important to support humans on the Moon: water, etc.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:43 PM
Figuring out where hydrogen signal is coming from.

Hydrogen is definitely in some of the shadowed craters, may well be in other, unshadowed regions. Need more observations to characterize this and to figure out the origin.

The "power of LRO" is that it's not just one instrument looking for hydrogen, but a whole host of instruments that can provide complementary data.

Approaching summer solstice at the lunar south pole, when it would be the warmest.

By the end of the mission, we will characterize the south pole as well as can be done via remote sensing, plus LCROSS will do direct sensing.

Glom
2009-Sep-17, 05:44 PM
Pluto is such a lonely place to be. The Sun is so dim.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:47 PM
Need LCROSS to determine hydrogen source?

Scientist can talk a lot without really committing to anything.

Other guy: LAMP is sensitive to water but only to water at the surface. "Huge level of uncertainty here", difficulty of addressing question indicates the difficulty of the problem.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:48 PM
What sort of follow-on mission do you see to LRO?

LRO results should be all we need to plan human return to the Moon, specifically designed to deliver those findings.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:50 PM
Will LRO results be outdated by the time we're ready to land humans again?

No, the Moon doesn't change that fast. Will have an atlas that will be valuable to NASA and all space-faring nations. Will be updated as better data comes down.

ToSeek
2009-Sep-17, 05:52 PM
I ToSeeked you by 7 minutes. Might want to do some merging.

Threads merged.

ngc3314
2009-Sep-17, 06:55 PM
[B]
Scientist can talk a lot without really committing to anything.


And people wonder why we spend all that time in grad school. This skill is not easy!

sanman
2009-Sep-20, 05:31 AM
It would have been great if the bi-static radar experiment between LRO and Chandrayaan had worked, because bi-static is a particularly accurate way to detect water ice.

I'm thinking that hydrogen found in the shallower areas might simply be locked inside of some very stable solid compounds. What are the possible candidates?

Ara Pacis
2009-Sep-20, 05:52 AM
I'm not sure if this question could be related to the above. But I've read that the moon could contain a substantial atmosphere for a humanly significant timeframe. Is it possible that a deep crater, especially an eternally shaded crater, might contain an atmosphere in its bowl? And, could some of this gas occassionally flow over the rim and account for the readings of hydrogen outside of it?

01101001
2009-Sep-20, 05:55 AM
What are the possible candidates?

Water. Methane. Ammonia.

Hydrogen from the solar wind.

Other hydrocarbons.

Here you go. CBS News Space Place (http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/recent.html):


[...] "However, it can exist below the surface even if the surface is warm," Vondrak said. "So you may have had water deposited, or some other hydrogen-bearing compound like methane or ammonia, that was deposited from a comet or some other event and then was promptly buried. [...]
"It could be water, it could be methane, it could by hydrocarbons or organics," said LCROSS Project Manager Dan Andrews. "And so actually from a scientific standpoint, this is incredibly important. Whatever the moon has collected over the last three-and-a-half billion years in terms of water, organics, materials from comets, asteroids, the sun, could be trapped in these pockets on the moon.

sanman
2009-Sep-20, 01:08 PM
I don't see how water could exist below a warm surface for billions of years. To me, anything like that would have evaporated a long time ago. Same for ammonia and even methane. Things would have to be way deep down for that, and at that point they'd face further warming from the lunar mantle.

I don't understand how hydrocarbons or organics could have formed on the Moon in significant quantities.

Oh well, we'll just have to go there to find out.

KaiYeves
2009-Sep-20, 02:34 PM
Inside of Shackleton in complete darkness for the past couple of billion years, ever since it was formed. Typical of a number of other craters.
I don't know about you, but when I read that, I just think it's so cool.

marsbug
2009-Sep-20, 04:30 PM
I don't see how water could exist below a warm surface for billions of years. To me, anything like that would have evaporated a long time ago. Same for ammonia and even methane. Things would have to be way deep down for that, and at that point they'd face further warming from the lunar mantle.

I don't understand how hydrocarbons or organics could have formed on the Moon in significant quantities.

Oh well, we'll just have to go there to find out.

The lunar regolith transmits heat pretty poorly, and the sun's hitting the surface at a very low angle, so it's not getting warmed very much anyway. A meter of broken up rock makes for a pretty good insulator I guess, especially when the spaces between the bits are full of hard vacuum. If you're ever on a tropical beach dig down a littleway, about ten cm down is almost always pretty cool, even when the surface is hot enough to burn, and thats here on earth with a nice thick atmosphere to transmit heat by conduction and convection.

If there is water there left by comets it'd make sense there'd be a brew of other volatiles and hydrocarbons, comets are a complex mix of things. I don't think anyones claimed hydrocarbons could have formed on the moon, only that they could have been deposited there and lasted 'till today.

sanman
2009-Sep-20, 10:20 PM
I'd like to know how significant the neutron readings are, as an indicator of hydrogen. Is there anything else that could give a similar neutron signature?

What other types of instrumentation or sensory measurements could be used to narrow down exactly what form that hydrogen is in? What types of measurements could be taken, and what clues would they give?

01101001
2009-Sep-20, 10:43 PM
I'd like to know how significant the neutron readings are, as an indicator of hydrogen. Is there anything else that could give a similar neutron signature?

So, what, you expect to conclusively rule out every possibility but water here in a discussion forum, when the researchers themselves who have the understanding and the data and the tools, are not yet ready to publish that same conclusion?

Give them some time. Let them gather the data and the confidence they need to make a sound statement that is useful to the world. It's how science works.

It's hard work. But it yields progress.

And if they don't cough up the results you crave, the raw data will be eventually released to the Planetary Data System (http://pds.jpl.nasa.gov/) so you can discover the real truth and publish a peer-reviewed paper to great acclaim and become famous and rich. Again.

01101001
2009-Sep-20, 10:53 PM
Press Release: NASA Lunar Satellite Begins Detailed Mapping of Moon's South Pole (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/sep/HQ_09-215_LRO_First_Light.html) (September 17)


First results from LRO's Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector, or LEND, indicate that permanently shadowed and nearby regions may harbor water and hydrogen. Additional observations will be needed to confirm this. LEND relies on a decrease in neutron radiation from the lunar surface to indicate the presence of water or hydrogen.

Additional observations will be needed to confirm this.

marsbug
2009-Sep-22, 12:58 PM
An interesting Nature article (free) (http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090918/full/news.2009.931.html) and a possible announcment by NASA on spaceref (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1350).

ToSeek
2009-Sep-22, 07:14 PM
An interesting Nature article (free) (http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090918/full/news.2009.931.html) and a possible announcment by NASA on spaceref (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1350).

More about the NASA announcement here. (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/4713-india-moon-8.html#post1579452) It's on the Chandrayaan thread because the findings are from one of the US instruments aboard that spacecraft.