NASA has given us a helpful guide for watching the LCROSS probe slam into the surface of the moon tomorrow:
Put on your hard hat and get ready for action, because on Friday, Oct. 9th, what you just imagined is really going to happen–and you can have a front row seat.
The impact site is crater Cabeus near the Moon’s south pole. NASA is guiding the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (“LCROSS” for short) and its Centaur booster rocket into the crater’s floor for a spectacular double-impact designed to “unearth” signs of lunar water.
The actual impacts commence at 4:30 am PDT (11:30 UT). The Centaur rocket will strike first, transforming 2200 kg of mass and 10 billion joules of kinetic energy into a blinding flash of heat and light. Researchers expect the impact to throw up a plume of debris as high as 10 km.
Close behind, the LCROSS mothership will photograph the collision for NASA TV and then fly right through the debris plume.
You’ll probably be able to see it just by looking up at the right moment. Or, if you’re in the Eastern Time Zone like me (when this happens after sunrise) you can watch the big boom unfold on NASA TV.