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09/04/2020 – Ephemeris – What area of the Moon is the Artemis program interested in?

September 4, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, September 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 8:13, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:10. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 9:40 this evening.

Where will Artemis missions land when they get to the Moon? The Apollo missions mostly landed on the flat lunar seas which were really lava plains. The Artemis missions are headed to the Moon’s south polar regions. The Moon, unlike the Earth has very little axial tilt, so some of the crater floors at the poles are forever in shadow and near absolute zero, so are cold traps for volatile matter like water. Satellites over the years have found hydrogen over the south pole of the moon hinting that there is water ice there from impacting comets. There’s also crater peaks that are always in sunlight where solar panels can be erected to provide power throughout the month long lunar day. On the Moon, water is more precious than gold. There’s water in them thar craters!

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

South pole ice

The south pole of the Moon where the presence of water ice is detected by the absorption of neutrons by the hydrogen atoms in the ice. Credit NASA/GSFC/SVS/Roscosmos. Notice a theme in the crater names here?