Diviner Lunar Radiometer Observations of the LCROSS Impact

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Science  22 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6003, pp. 477-479
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197135

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The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Diviner instrument detected a thermal emission signature 90 seconds after the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Centaur impact and on two subsequent orbits. The impact heated a region of 30 to 200 square meters to at least 950 kelvin, providing a sustained heat source for the sublimation of up to ~300 kilograms of water ice during the 4 minutes of LCROSS post-impact observations. Diviner visible observations constrain the mass of the sunlit ejecta column to be ~10−6 to 10−5 kilograms per square meter, which is consistent with LCROSS estimates used to derive the relative abundance of the ice within the regolith.

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