The NASA Lunar Impact Monitoring Program

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Abstract

NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has implemented a program to monitor the Moon for meteoroid impacts from the Marshall Space Flight Center. Using off-the-shelf telescopes and video equipment, the Moon is monitored for as many as 10 nights per month, depending on weather. Custom software automatically detects flashes which are confirmed by a second telescope, photometrically calibrated using background stars, and published on a website for correlation with other observations. Hypervelocity impact tests at the Ames Vertical Gun Range facility have begun to determine the luminous efficiency and ejecta characteristics. The purpose of this research is to define the impact ejecta environment for use by lunar spacecraft designers of the Constellation manned lunar program. The observational techniques and preliminary results will be discussed.

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