Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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383 – Moon Water
The lunar roving, battery powered, 4 wheel drive “Moon Buggy” allowed astronauts on Apollo 15, 16, and 17 to travel 8 mph on the lunar surface with a maximum range of approximately 4.7 mi. Some of the rocks that these space travelers brought back, from the tiny area they were able to visit on the Moon, contained volcanic glass beads with trace amounts of trapped water inside of them. Dr. Ralph Milliken and Dr. Shuai Li [shhway Lee] of Brown University used the data from the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter to map the amount of water present in pyroclastic deposits of rocks which were ejected from lunar volcanos. They suggest that the glass beads found near the Apollo landing sites are representative of the much larger glass-rich volcanic deposits elsewhere on the lunar surface , that volcanic eruptions are are a way to transport water from the interior to the surface, and that the interior of the Moon is water rich and not dry as was previously supposed. Currently, it is not possible to determine if the Moon’s interior water survived from it’s formation or was brought to the Moon by the impacts of asteroids and comets before the Moon completely solidified. In the future lunar colonists will be able to use the Moon’s indigenous water to drink, to produce oxygen to breathe, to irrigate plants for food, and produce hydrogen and oxygen rocket fuel. Scientists will need the information obtained from lunar sample and return missions to understand how the trace amounts of water contained in volcanic glass beads could be used by human lunar colonies.
384 – Flying By
Until very recently humans have been completely unaware of the number of small space rocks which pass near to our home planet. Asteroid hunters now frequently spot these small asteroids as they come between the Moon and the Earth’s surface.
Seven days after the Pan-STARRS group in Hawaii discovered 2012 TC4 it moved away from the Earth and became too faint to detect as it continued to travel on it’s 609 day orbital path around the Sun. Observations by one of the European Southern Observatories 8.2 meter telescopes in July and August of 2017 has allowed scientists from the NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to refine this small asteroid’s orbit. These NASA scientists are predicting that on October 12, 2017, 2012 TC4 will be traveling at 30,000 mph as it passes about 1/8 the distance to the Moon from the surface of planet Earth. NASA scientists are excited by this upcoming flyby and plan to obtain scientific data as well as to test NASA’s network of observatories and scientists who work with planetary defense. Dr. Vishnu Reddy of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is heading up a team involving more than a dozen observatories who will track and measure 2012 TC4’s physical size, and other properties. This is a golden opportunity to prepare for the impact of the small space rock out there which has our number on it.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
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365 Days of Astronomy
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