Watch Japanese spacecraft crash on moon with naked eye

June 10th, 2009 - 11:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 10 (IANS) Japanese spacecraft Kaguya will crash into the moon at around midnight Wednesday and the impact, followed by flashes of light, will be visible from the earth to the naked eye, a scientist said here.
The 2,600 kg spacecraft will slam into the moon’s surface at a speed of over 6,000 km per hour on its southeastern side, according to Bharat Adur, the director of the Akashganga Centre for Astronomy and a former senior scientist with the Nehru Planetarium.

“The impact (6.25 p.m. GMT/11.55 p.m. India time) will be followed by flashes of light or a plume of debris and dust rising from the moon’s surface that shall be visible to the naked eye or with anordinary binocular,” Adur said.

The timing will be favourable for those who want to observe the event in Asia and Australia. “It’s a not-to-be-missed spectacle” Adur pointed out.

The impact is part of experiments to detect the presence of water molecules on the earth’s only satellite.

Earlier, in 2007, a Chinese spacecraft had similarly been crashed on the moon, followed by an India’s moon impacter last year.

Several years ago, the US and the then Soviet Union had also carried out similar spacecraft crashes on the moon, Adur said.

According to the website, www.spaceweather.com, Japan had launched Kaguya Sep 14, 2007, to obtain scientific data on the moon’s origin and evolution and to develop the technology for future lunar explorations.

The controlled impact on the moon will mark the completion of its scientific lunar mission, it said.

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