Our plan is to get in contact with the LRO team and try to find the crash site in future LRO images. We are confident that this can be done, since they were able to locate the Beresheet impact site a few months ago. However, to help in the search we need to compute the location of the impact point as accurately as possible, and also come up with some estimate of the error to define a search area where we are likely to find the crash. This post is a detailed account of my calculations.
In my last posts about DSLWP-B, I have been showing all the images of the lunar surface that were taken by the satellite during the last weeks of the mission, and tried to identify to which area of the Moon each image corresponded. For several of them, I was able to give a good identification using Google Moon, but for many of the latest images I was unable to find an identification, since they show few or none characteristic craters.
Thus, for these images I only gave a rough prediction of which area of the Moon was imaged by using GMAT and the published ephemeris from dslwp_dev. This doesn’t take into account camera pointing, orbit or shutter time errors.
Phil Stooke has become interested in this and he has managed to identify many of the images, even some containing very little detail, which I find impressive. No wonder, Phil is the author of several atlases of space exploration of the Moon and Mars, so he knows a lot of lunar geography.
Phil tells me that he has used Quickmap, which is a very nice tool that I didn’t know of. It is much more powerful than Google Moon. He recommends to switch to an equidistant cylindrical projection and set as a basemap layer the “WAC mosaic (no shadows) map”, which contains images with the sun directly overhead. This resembles the images taken by DSLWP-B better, since these are always taken with the sun at a high elevation, because the camera always points away from the sun. It is interesting to see how the appearance of the surface changes between the “no shadows” and “big shadows” maps.
In this post I show the locations of the images identified by Phil.
The activation slots for the Amateur payload on-board DSLWP-B for this week were the following:
29 Jul 00:15 to 02:15
29 Jul 04:30 to 06:30
29 Jul 20:00 to 22:00
30 Jul 05:30 to 07:30
30 Jul 16:20 to 18:20
31 Jul 06:30 to 08:30
31 Jul 13:24 to 15.24
1 Aug 05:30 to 07:30
I had calculated a periapsis height of -62km for the July 31 orbit, so the collision with the Moon was quite certain, even taking orbit errors into account. However, a slot was set on August 1 just in case the collision didn’t happen.
This post summarizes the activities done this week with DSLWP-B and the end of the mission.
Back in May, I spoke about the future collision of DSLWP-B with the lunar surface. It would happen on July 31, thus putting and end to the mission. Now that the impact date is near, I have run again the calculations with the latest ephemeris in order to have an accurate simulation of the event.
The ephemeris I’m using consist of a Moon centred ICRF Keplerian state vector which has been shared by Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC. In GMAT, this state vector is as follows:
The images below show the impact simulation in GMAT. Since the impact happens on the far side of the Moon, it will not be visible from Earth. There is an activation of the Amateur payload onboard DSLWP-B for 2019-07-31 13:24 to 15:24 UTC. The satellite will hide behind the Moon around 14:08 UTC. If the Moon was not solid, DSLWP-B would reappear around 14:35 UTC. The absence of radio signals after this moment will confirm that the impact has occurred.
During this week, the Amateur payload of DSLWP-B was active during the following slots:
14 Jul 19:00 to 21:00
15 Jul 12:00 to 14:00
17 Jul 04:40 to 06:50
18 Jul 20:50 to 22:50
20 Jul 14:20 to 16:20
21 Jul 05:30 to 07:30
Among these, the Moon was visible from Europe only on July 14, 18 and 21, so Dwingeloo only observed these days, which were mainly devoted to the download of SSDV images of the lunar surface. As usual, the payload took an image automatically at the start of each slot, so some of the slots were used for autonomous lunar imaging, even though no tracking was made from Dwingeloo.
This post is a detailed account of the activities done with DSLWP-B during the third week of July.
During this week, the Amateur payload of DSLWP-B has been active on the following slots:
2019-07-09 12:30 to 14:30 UTC
2019-07-10 13:50 to 15:50 UTC
2019-07-12 02:00 to 04:00 UTC
2019-07-12 16:30 to 18:30 UTC
In these activations, the last remaining image of the eclipse was downloaded. Also, images of the lunar surface as well as stars have been taken and downloaded. This post is a summary of the activities made with DSLWP-B over the week.
Now that the DSLWP-B eclipse images have become widespread, appearing even in some newspapers, I have taken the time to identify the features of the lunar surface that can be seen in two of the images. As with any Earth and Moon pictures of DSLWP-B, the part of the Moon that can be seen in these images belongs to the far side, with longitudes of approximately 100º E and 100º W (the division between the near side and the far side happens at 90º E and 90º W, and 0º is the middle of the near side).
I have compared the images with a simulation of the camera view done in GMAT. Using this simulation as a reference and these lunar surface maps as well as Google Moon, I have labelled the features that are visible in the images. The 4K lunar surface map from Celestia Motherlode has been used in GMAT, instead of the default, lower resolution map.
The figure below shows the GMAT camera view simulation for one of the images taken as DSLWP-B was hiding behind the Moon. The field of view in this figure is much larger than the field of view of the DSLWP-B Inory eye camera. The up direction is the normal to DSLWP-B’s orbit around the Sun (defined as the plane containing the position and velocity vectors with DLSWP-B with respect to the Sun). Therefore, it points approximately towards the north pole. DSWLP-B is moving towards the upper right corner of this image.
The figure belows shows the ground track view. The satellite has crossed the near side and is now starting to orbit over the far side, soon becoming hidden behind the Moon.
Image 0xE2, taken on 2019-07-02 18:57:20 is shown below. The image has been rotated to match the orientation of the GMAT camera view simulation.
The craters that are visible in this image are labeled in the figure below. These belong to the Mare Australe region, and several well known craters such as Jenner and Lamb can be seen.
Tammo Jan Dijkema has done a similar exercise with image 0xE3, which was taken a minute after the image shown above. DSLWP-B has moved towards the upper right corner of the image, so that a larger portion of the lunar surface is visible.
The figure below shows the GMAT camera view simulation corresponding to image 0xE5, which was taken shortly after DSLWP-B exited the occultation, so that the Earth was visible again.
Below we see the ground track corresponding to this image. The satellite has crossed the far side of the Moon in a south to north direction and soon will cross over to the near side.
The figure below is image 0xE5, which was taken on 2019-07-02 19:33:05. It has been rotated to match the orientation of the GMAT simulation.
The craters are labelled in the figure below. Important craters in the Coulomb-Sarton basin such as Stefan and Bragg are visible. An image of this region with the craters labelled can be seen here.
I have devoted the lastfewpoststo the planning of the imaging times for the eclipse test run and the validation of the test run done on June 30. This post is a detailed account of the results of the eclipse imaging. Between July 3 and 5, five of the six eclipse images taken on July 2 were downloaded, as well as some other images taken later. Here I give a summary of the downloads during these days and compare the images to the predictions I made.
Yesterday I did an analysis of the image taken and downloaded during the test run for the imaging of the solar eclipse shadow on the Earth with DSLWP-B on July 2. Only one of the six images taken to validate the camera exposure and pointing and orbit errors was downloaded yesterday. The window to download the remaining images was during today’s activation of the Amateur payload between 05:30 and 07:30 UTC.
Three images were downloaded today, with a few missing chunks. Moreover, Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC has sent me better ephemeris, which give a more accurate prediction of the orbit both on the June 30 test run and on the eclipse imaging run on July 2. This post is an analysis of the images downloaded today.