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Posted: 6/1/2001 12:08:05 AM EDT
Does anyone know, off hand, what power laser is required to reflect off of the mirror(s) placed on the moon AND the co-ordinates of the mirror(s)?????
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 12:11:53 AM EDT
I imagine quite a few watts. Why do you ask? Were you planning on using your laser pistol sight to try to shoot the man in the moon? [:)]
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 12:27:52 AM EDT
YEAH, I just HATE the way he stares at me, unrelenting.....Arrrgggggg!!!! Actually, I was wondering what it would take to duplicate the experiment. Sounds like fun for me and the kids! Besides a handgun won't work, gotta break out the 300WinMag for the #%$^&^!
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 2:58:14 PM EDT
I would maybe make an inquiry to the Palomar Observatory. When driving to San Diego, I used to see blue lasers criss crossing the sky every once and a while. I'm not sure what they are aiming at, it is on a fairly horizontal trajectory, Local Mountains? I would guess that it would have to be fairly powerful. Mucho megawatts! To have to go through 100,000 feet of atmosphere/dust, then 250,000 miles of space(solar wind), bounce then make the return journey and still retain a readable straight beam, requires a real highly energized beam of light. Just the dust in our atmosphere has a large light scattering effect, that's why the sky is blue when the sun is up.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 3:27:50 PM EDT
I think the blue (actually blue-green) laser beams you see from Palomar are part of the adaptive optics tests they're doing for astronomical telescope mirrors. It's a spin-off from the Star-Wars anti-missle weapons technology. By firing a laser down the path of the telescope field of view, they can measure the air distortion and then "warp" the telescope mirror using tiny actuators to compensate for the distortion. Very hi-tech. It was originally done so that they could use very high power lasers without too much diffraction of the beam, but it turns out it works backwards for clearer telescope picures too. As to actually bouncing a laser beam off the moon mirror, it takes A) a pretty powerful laser to get to it, and B) a pretty good detector to pick up the reflection. They use a laser collimated with a telescope to do it, and even then it takes a while to find the target. It's only about 0.5m in diameter. By the time a 1mm laser beam reaches the moon, it has dispersed to well over a meter in diameter, not including atmospheric effects. I don't remember just how much "well over" is, but it's significant. [sniper]
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 3:33:48 PM EDT
My fuzzy memory recalls that the U of Texas used to laser range the moon gathering data on orbital variances. Your backyard research would require LOTs more power and precision than practical, like cryo cooling etc... (picture frankensteins lab). Solve the laser problem and then you would need a mount of incredibly high precision to hit the targets left on the moon (picture the vault at Fort Knox). Other little details like how to measure your results would probably add a buck or two to the bill. If you're willing to bring your research down a peg or two to start with, take a look at Edmund Scientific's laser (and astronomy) products. P.S. careful with High power lasers, you'll put your eye out!
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