In the pre-dawn hours Friday morning, October 9th, NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) craft is scheduled to crash into the south pole of the moon, where scientists believe water ice may exist.

The crash will happen in two stages. The first stage, scheduled to impact at about 4:31 A.M. PDT, will hopefully throw debris into space where the second stage is able to analyze it. In the second stage, which will be about four minutes later, the remaining portion of the craft will crash into the surface of the moon.

These impacts will not be visible by the naked eye or binoculars, so NASA has scheduled a series of parties scattered all over the North American continent, mostly west of the Mississippi meridian. If you can’t make it to one of the parties, you can watch NASA TV for a special 1.5 hour broadcast starting at 3:15 A.M. PDT. This broadcast will include footage from the spacecraft, telemetry, commentary, and other video. Also, if weather permits, footage from the University of Hawaii’s 88-inch telescope on Mauna Kea will be included.

For more details, go to the NASA site. Also, check out Andy Smith’s photo gallery, NASA ready to shoot the moon, which includes an in-depth scientific presentation.

Do you plan to watch the crashes, either from your home or by watching NASA TV?