New findings from researchers at @NASA and other international teams has discovered a link between the bombardment history of our moon and that of the asteroid Vesta. It appears that the same set of projectiles that hit our moon – and presumably other objects in the inner Solar System – 4 billion years ago also impacted Vesta.
Vesta is an asteroid in our Solar System’s main asteroid belt, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Researchers studying this asteroid have compared moon rocks brought back from the Apollo missions to the findings on Vesta and determined that the same set of projectiles were responsible for both sets of bombardments. And they point to a 4-billion year old disruption of the Solar System:
The findings support the theory that the repositioning of gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn from their original orbits to their current location destabilized portions of the asteroid belt and triggered a solar system-wide bombardment of asteroids billions of years ago, called the lunar cataclysm.
The research provides new constraints on the start and duration of the lunar cataclysm, and demonstrates that the cataclysm was an event that affected not only the inner solar system planets, but the asteroid belt as well.
It sounds suspiciously like an Austin Powers movie, but no: the probes are not being slammed into our moon in ransom of 1. million. dollars. They’re being spiked into the moon at the end of a very successful mission to avoid leaving space junk floating around.
NASA announced on Friday that the last firing sequences were successfully completed that would propel the GRAIL gravity measurement satellites hurtling towards a sudden end. The Gravity Recovery and Internal Laboratory program was sent to the moon in order to study our largest satellite’s gravitational field in high detail, so that we might better understand the moon’s makeup and origins. The program is considered to have been a huge success, but fuel limits mean GRAIL will need to come to an end.
Even in the end, GRAIL’s contribution to NASA engineering is not quite finished, however. Because they know how much fuel the satellites were launched with and they’re certain that they’ve neared the end of that reserve, NASA plans to burn one long last firing to find out just how much is left in the tanks, exactly. This information will help engineers to understand just how accurate their measurements of fuel had been to this point to better prepare future missions.
For those that are interested, NASA will be providing minute-by-minute commentary on GRAIL’s final trajectory starting at 2pm Monday morning. Both probes are expected to crash at around 2:28pm. There will not be any video of the event, however, as the probes will be on the moon’s dark side on impact.
Don’t get me wrong: I think the idea of setting up permanent habitations in space is, in the words of Kenny Powers, “Cool as fuck.” But seriously, the Republican Congressman who penned this new bill running through Congress called it “the Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act,” and calls it REAL.
New Bill Directs NASA Back to the Moon By 2022, With Permanent Habitation In Mind | Popular Science.
Casting aside the fact that there’s no E in the above “anagram,” which should fairly be called RALS, how is going to the moon any way to “reassert” our leadership in space? A better bet would be to actually live up to our commitments to the International Space Station and concentrate on the long-term viability of a habitation on Mars or its moon, Deimos.
I would say that, based on the list of Congress-critters who’ve signed on to the bill, what this bill should probably be called is “The Reasserting the South’s Dependence on the Wasteful Space Program They So Revile Till They Lose Their Shit Act” (RSDWSPTSRTTLTS).
Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, now does it?