Blasting the Moon on Friday morning: LCROSS [space]

On Friday morning (October 9th) a spacecraft the size of a VW bus will crash into our only moon. LCROSS, or: the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite is meant to shake up the surface of the moon in attempt to determine what can be upturned (water please?) following a huge punch in the moon’s face. The mission is part of a larger goal to map the moon’s resources to determine just how much chicken salad workers on a moon base would need to bring with to survive.

If you’re lucky enough to 1) live on the west coast 2) own a pair of binoculars you’ll be able to see this lunar effacement as it happens. Four-thirty AM PST. Set your alarm! (viewing information here). Here’s how it will go down:

On final approach, the Shepherding Spacecraft and Centaur will separate and the Centaur upper stage will act as a heavy impactor to create a debris plume that will rise above the lunar surface. Following four minutes after impact of the Centaur upper stage, the Shepherding Spacecraft will fly through this debris plume, collecting and relaying data back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface and creating a second debris plume. NASA expects the impact velocity will be over 9,000 km/h (5,600 mph). [via Wikipedia]

image: Artist rendering of the LCROSS + Centaur. Click for larger.

The following video is a great into to the mission:
LCROSS Animation on KQED Public Media.

More imagery of the moonsplosion:



If you’d like more information, visit the NASA LCROSS site.

David Hockney on Brushes for the iPhone [art]

“After all, this is a medium of pure light, not ink or pigment, if anything more akin to a stained glass window than an illustration on paper.”


It’s always there in my pocket, there’s no thrashing about, scrambling for the right color. One can set to work immediately, there’s this wonderful impromptu quality, this freshness, to the activity; and when it’s over, best of all, there’s no mess, no clean-up. You just turn off the machine. Or, even better, you hit Send, and your little cohort of friends around the world gets to experience a similar immediacy. There’s something, finally, very intimate about the whole process…
…After all, what clearer, more luminous light are we ever afforded? Especially here where the light comes rising over the sea, just the opposite of my old California haunts. But in the old days one never could, because, of course, ordinarily it would be too dark to see the paints; or else, if you turned on a light so as to be able to see them, you’d lose the subtle gathering tones of the coming sun. But with an iPhone, I don’t even have to get out of bed, I just reach for the device, turn it on, start mixing and matching the colors, laying in the evolving scene.

David Hockney on the Iphone.

via nybooks

Jorge Colombo, who also digs brushes