NASA Is Now Tasked With Developing A Lunar Time Standard, Relativity Or Not

A little while ago, we talked about the concept of timezones and the Moon. It’s a complicated issue, because on Earth, time is all about the Sun and our local relationship with it. The Moon and the Sun have their own weird thing going on, so time there doesn’t really line up well with our terrestrial conception of it.

Nevertheless, as humanity gets serious about doing Moon things again, the issue needs to be solved. To that end, NASA has now officially been tasked with setting up Moon time – just a few short weeks after we last talked about it! (Does the President read Hackaday?) Only problem is, physics is going to make it a damn sight more complicated!

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Could Moon Mining Spoil Its Untouched Grandeur And Science Value?

It’s 2024. NASA’s Artemis program is in full swing, and we’re hoping to get back to the surface of the Moon real soon. Astronauts haven’t walked on the beloved sky rock since 1972! A human landing was scheduled for 2025, which has now been pushed back to 2026, and we’re all getting a bit antsy about it. Last time we wanted to go, it only took 8 years!

Now, somehow, it’s harder, but NASA also has its sights set higher. It no longer wants to just toddle about the Moon for a bit to wave at the TV cameras. This time, there’s talk of establishing permanent bases on the Moon, and actually doing useful work, like mining. It’s a tantalizing thought, but what does this mean for the sanctity of one of the last pieces of real estate yet to be spoilt by humans? Researchers are already arguing that we need to move to protect this precious, unique environment.

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Could Moon Dust Help Reduce Global Temperatures?

The impacts of climate change continue to mount on human civilization, with warning signs that worse times are yet to come. Despite the scientific community raising an early warning as to the risks of continued air pollution and greenhouse gas output, efforts to stem emissions have thus far had minimal impact. Continued inaction has led some scientists to consider alternative solutions to stave off the worst from occurring.

Geoengineering has long been touted as a potential solution for our global warming woes. Now, the idea of launching a gigantic dust cloud from the moon to combat Earth’s rising temperatures is under the spotlight. However, this very sci-fi solution has some serious implications if pursued, if humanity can even achieve the feat in the first place.

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E-Ink Moon Phase Viewer Keeps Interest From Waning

It’s a shame that so many cool things happen in the night sky, but we can’t see them because of clouds or light pollution. If you missed seeing the comet NEOWISE or this summer’s Perseid meteor showers, there’s not a lot to be done but look at other people’s pictures. But if it’s the Moon and its phases you keep missing out on, that information can be acquired and visualized fairly easily.

This project includes a bunch of firsts for [Jacob Tarr], like designing a custom PCB and utilizing a three-color E-ink screen to show the Moon in its current phase along with the date and time.

[Jacob]’s moon phase viewer runs on an ItsyBitsy M4 Express, which holds data pulled from NASA ahead of time to save battery. Every morning, the board dishes out the daily info on a schedule kept by a real-time clock module.

We particularly like the minimalist case design, especially the little shelf that holds the lithium-ion cell. This is just the beginning, and [Jacob] plans to add more detail for anyone who wants one for themselves.

If you want something more Moon-shaped, here’s a printed version that gets brighter in time with the real thing. Or you could just make a giant light-up full moon like Hackaday super alumnus [Caleb Kraft].

Amateur Astronomers Spot Meteorite Impact During Lunar Eclipse

According to ancient astronaut theorists, the lunar eclipse this weekend had an unexpected visitor. Right around the time of totality, a meteoroid crashed into the moon, and it was visible from Earth.

Meteoroids crash into the Earth and Moon all the time, although this usually happens either over the ocean (70% of the Earth) where we can’t see it, on the far side of the moon (~50% of the Moon) where we can’t see it, or on the sunlit side of the Moon (another, different 50%), where we can’t see it. These meteoroids range from the size of a grain of sand to several meters across, but only the largest could ever be seen by the human eye. This weekend’s lunar eclipse, the Super Blood Wolf Moon was visible to a large portion of the population, and many, many cameras were trained on the Moon. Several telescopes livestreamed the entire eclipse, and multiple people caught a glimpse of a small flash of light, seeming to come from around Lagrange crater. Because this event was seen by multiple observers separated by thousands of miles, the only conclusion is that something hit the moon, and its impact event was recorded on video.

This is not the first time an impact event has been recorded on the moon. The Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) running out of La Hita Observatory has regularly recorded impact events, including one that was comparable to an an explosion of 15 tons of TNT. These automated observatories aren’t running during a full moon, like during a lunar eclipse, because no camera would be able to pick up the flash of light. We were somewhat lucky last weekend’s impact happened during totality, and with dozens of cameras trained on the Moon.

Further investigation will be necessary to determine the size of the meteoroid and obtain pictures of its impact crater, but for a basis of comparison, the LCROSS mission plowed a Centaur upper stage (2.2 tons) into the lunar surface at 2.5 km/s. This should have resulted in a flash visible through binoculars, but it didn’t. The meteoroid that struck the moon last weekend would have been traveling faster (a minimum of about 12 km/s), but the best guess is that this rock might have been of suitable size to have fit in the back of a pickup truck, or thereabouts.