Sunday , May 28 2023

The Apollo Experiment 10 still exists, and it still works


We all know that when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the Moon about 50 years ago, they also took pictures. They also brought lunar rock samples, and they left there an experiment that still sends us data. Aldrin was the one who set up an array that was an arrangement of 100 quart glass prisms in rows on the surface of the Moon. Then, once with the Apollo 14 and 15 missions, astronauts would add similar arrays to the surface.

The experiment requires no power, which is why it still works to this day. The array reflects light back to Earth, which is a great source of information for us. Observatories from certain locations – Italy, France, Germany, and New Mexico – have their lasers aimed at the arrays at all times and they notice the time it takes for the light to return to Earth.

Researchers can measure the distance even if we are talking about a few millimeters. This allows them to see the orbit, rotation and its current orientation of the Moon, which will be crucial for landing on the Moon. They also behave as mile markers for the cameras that are placed on the spacecraft.

Why are the tables so important?

We know the Moon is about 239,000 miles away, but the tables allow scientists to see if the distance increases by an inch and a half every year. They had previously believed that the Moon had a solid core, but the data from the tables revealed that the core was indeed flowing. The kernel is the one that actually determines the direction of the lunar poles, and the data from the array can help in finding out its orientation.

Source link