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Uploaded on Dec 18, 2008
With a scheduled launch date of June 18, 2009, the current plan is to impact the south pole at approximately 4:31 a.m. PDT on Oct. 9, 2009. The spacecraft and Centaur are tentatively targeted to impact the moon's south pole near the Cabeus region. To prepare for the LCROSS impacts of a permanently shadowed crater, NASA Ames Research Center scientist Diane Wooden is developing targeting protocols for the moderately sized three-meter diameter NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. On the night of the LCROSS impacts, Wooden and her colleagues plan to obtain spectroscopy of the LCROSS impact ejecta clouds. Most large telescopes do not routinely observe the moon. Since the moon is extremely bright and moving very fast, compared to the background stars, special procedures are necessary to point and track accurately. Positioning of the telescope is critical to capturing the LCROSS impact events.