with guest Brian Day, Education and Public Outreach Lead for NASA's LCROSS Mission
When humans return to the Moon to explore and live on its surface, those future lunar inhabitants will need safe habitats and plenty of water. As it turns out, the Moon may have all the water we need, locked away in ice deposits at its poles. Today, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) are allowing scientists to search for water at the lunar south pole. In this episode, we hear about this water-hunting expedition from Brian Day, the education and public outreach lead for the LCROSS mission.
Listen (mp3, 5 MB)
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Produced by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Written and narrated by Carolyn Collins Petersen
Original music by Geodesium
Soundtrack production by Loch Ness Productions
Web page materials by Andrew Fraknoi
Special thanks to Brian Day and Dr. Seth Shostak.
Fraknoi (Foothill College & ASP)
Here are some materials for informal science educators (and their audiences) to delve more deeply into the topics discussed in this month's "Astronomy Behind the Headlines" podcast. This month's discussion concerns our scientific understanding of the Moon and an ongoing mission, called LCROSS, which builds on intriguing hints from earlier Moon missions to search for water in its shadowed craters.
Here we consider the topic of understanding the Moon more broadly, looking at resources about lunar science, lunar exploration, observing the Moon with binoculars and telescopes, and the phases of the Moon in the sky.
Encyclopedia Entry on Moon by Paul Spudis at NASA (nice background summary): http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/moon_worldbook.html
The Full Moon (by Luc Viatour).
Nine Planets Site Introduction: http://nineplanets.org/luna.html
Views of the Solar System Site Introduction: http://www.solarviews.com/eng/moon.htm
of Ice on the Moon (before the LCROSS Mission plans):
Origin of the Moon (by William Hartmann, who, with a colleague,
first suggested the giant impact hypothesis for how the Moon formed,
See the special page for educational resources: http://www.lcross.arc.nasa.gov/resources/
on the mission from Popular Mechanics magazine: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4277592.html
(See also the first webcast under heading #6 below)
Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Site (this is LCROSS' companion mission):
Clementine Mission Site (first hints of ice on the Moon): http://www.cmf.nrl.navy.mil/clementine/
of Moon Missions (NASA):
Missions List from the Moon Society:
Mission Lists and Links from the Lunar and Planetary Institute: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/expmoon/
Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (comprehensive site about the landings): http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/
To the Moon Site (on the Apollo landings):
We Choose the Moon Site (a recreation of the Apollo 11 mission): http://wechoosethemoon.org/
Moon gets hit (from a 1902 French film).
& Telescope Magazine's Moon Observing Articles:
Moon (Kevin Clarke's rich site full of moon information, observing
guides, an atlas, phase calendar, moon music, and much more):
Guide to the Moon (Akanna Peck's site shows what's visible on the
Moon and lets you search by feature names; for serious observers):
Consolidated Atlas of Best Lunar Images (from the Lunar and Planetary
Carlisle's Moon Calendar:
(displays the phase of the Moon for any date from 3999BC to 3999 AD)
Peck's Moon Phase Applet:
Online Moon Calendar:
and Moonset Calculator:
The Earth and the Moon (from the Deep Impact Spacecraft, NASA).
(and Understanding) Lunar Phases (from the Pacific Science Center's
Astro Adventures Program):
[click on Favorite Science Activities in the menu at left and then on Observing Lunar Phases] (This sequence of superb inquiry-based activities helps people of all ages to understand the changing appearance of the Moon over the course of a month.)
Lunar Phases with a Daytime Moon (from the Astronomical Society
of the Pacific's Astronomy from the Ground Up Program): http://www.astrosociety.org/afgu/DaytimeMoon.pdf
(Uses the Sun and Moon in the sky, plus a Styrofoam ball to help visualize the Moon's phases.)
Landing (from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Family
(Participants imagine survivors of a crash on the Moon and figure out what is most essential for their backpacks to survive.)
the Moon Rotate (from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Night
Sky Network Program):
(A brief demonstration using models of why the Moon keeps one face to the Earth.)
Craters (a series of activities and resources from the Hawaii Space
Grant Consortium's Exploring Planets series): http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/class_acts/CrateringDoc.html
(students drop things from a height onto a "lunar surface" to simulate the making of craters)
the Moon (a 158-page teacher guide with activities from NASA): www.nasa.gov/pdf/58199main_Exploring.The.Moon.pdf
(Put together by the planetary science group at the University of Hawaii in 1997, this guide has a wide range of activities on lunar science and exploration for middle and high school level.)
visual demo of the phases of the Moon (from the Project ASTRO Site
at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories):
Relevant Issues of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's newsletter for teachers, The Universe in the Clasroom:
What If the Moon Didn't Exist?:
The Surface of the Moon:
The Phases of the Moon:
Lunar and Planetary Institute's Site "Connect to the Moon"
offers a wide range of other resources for educators (with the proviso
that almost everything on the site is NASA based):
Anthony Colaprete (NASA Ames Research Center) discusses "Prospecting
for Water on the Moon: The Upcoming LCROSS Mission" (January
21, 2009, Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures:
Myths and Moon Misconceptions: Phil Plait (author of Bad Astronomy),
planetary astronomers Paul Spudis, and others separate moon fact
from fiction in this humorous hour (July 6, 2009, SETI Institute
Are We Alone show):
NASA video on the LCROSS Mission:
Aldrin on Moon with US Flag.
Chaikin, Andrew A Man on the Moon. 1994, Viking Press. A well-reviewed history of manned lunar exploration and what it taught us.
Harland, David Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions. 1999, Praxis/Springer-Verlag. Reviews the work of the astronauts on the Moon in the context of what we now know about lunar geology.
Kustenmacher, Werner The Moon: A Guide for First-time Visitors. 1999, Formmer's. Not entirely serious, this is a tourist guide book to the Moon, written as if travel there were already common place. Interesting combination of fact and whimsy.
Spudis, Paul The Once and Future Moon. 1998, Smithsonian Inst. Press. A geologist discusses what our exploration of the Moon has taught us, and what we might do in the future to know and use the Moon better.
Kitt, Michael The Moon: An Observing Guide for Backyard Telescopes. 1992, Kalmbach. Eighty-page illustrated primer for beginners.
Massey, Steve Exploring the Moon. 2006, New Holland. An observing guide from an Australian perspective, with good hints about techniques and equipment.
North, Gerald Observing the Moon: The Modern Astronomer's Guide. 2000, Cambridge U. Press. Very detailed observing guide for serious moon watchers.
Wood, Charles The Modern Moon: A Personal View. 2004, Sky Publishing. A thorough introduction to observing the Moon, by Sky & Telescope's moon columnist and a planetary geologist.
Bourgeois, Paulette The Moon. 1995, Kids Can Press, Toronto. Includes both cultural and scientific view of the Moon.
Bredeson, Carmen The Moon. 1998, Franklin Watt/Grolier. For younger kids.
Cole, Michael The Moon: Earth's Companion in Space. 2001, Enslow.
Heller, Janet How the Moon Regained Her Shape. 2007, Sylvan Dell. Uses a native American folk myth to teach about the moon's phases and encourage children's self-esteem. Has an end section of science ideas.
Hitt, Robert The Moon. 1998, Grolier/Michael Friedman. 64-page introduction to moon motions and exploration.
Krupp, E. C. The Moon and You. 1993, Macmillan. Beautifully illustrated primer for younger children by a noted astronomy educator.
Rosen, Sidney Where Does the Moon Go? 1992, Carolrhoda Books. Primer for younger kids by an astronomer.
Stott, Carol Moon Landing: The Race for the Moon. 1999, DK Books. Lavishly illustrated kids' encyclopedia.
Aldrin on Moon with Footprints.
Bakich, Michael "Asia's New Assault on the Moon" in Astronomy, Aug. 2009, p. 50. On the Japanese Selene and Chinese Chang'e-1 missions.
Foing, Bernard "What Europe's Moon Mission Revealed" in Astronomy, Aug. 2009, p. 44. On the SMART-1 Mission 2003 - 2006.
Foust, J. "NASA's New Moon" in Sky & Telescope, Sep. 1998, p. 48. On results from the Lunar Prospector mission.
Jayawardhana, R. "Deconstructing the Moon" in Astronomy, Sep. 1998, p. 40. An update on the giant impact hypothesis for forming the Moon.
Oberg, James "The Biggest Hole in the Moon" in Astronomy, Nov. 2005, p. 50. About the Aitken Basin at the Moon's South Pole and what we can learn from it.
Redfern, Greg "Lunar Fireworks" in Sky & Telescope, June 2009, p. 20. A preview of the LRO and LCROSS missions.
Spudis, P. "The Giant Holes of the Moon" in Astronomy, May 1996, p. 50. On the results of the Clementine mission.
Alves, Filipe "Capturing the Colors of the Moon" in Sky &Telescope, July 2005, p. 120. Using digital cameras and software like Photoshop to bring out colors in lunar photos.
Burnham, R. & Therin, G. "The Joys of Moongazing" in Astronomy, Mar. 1991, p. 84. Observing and photography with modest telescopes.
Friedman, Alan "Good Moons from Bad Locations" in Sky & Telescope, Aug. 2007, p. 84. Hints for producing nice digital lunar images even from urban sites.
Wood, Charles "Introducing the Lunar 100" in Sky & Telescope, Apr. 2004, p. 113. A list of the top 100 features on the Moon for amateur telescope observers, with explanations and guides.