Bouncing a Laser Off The Moon Reveals A Mystery Of Physics
The Fun Of Bouncing a Laser Off The Moon.
Have you ever taken a laser pointer, either red or the more powerful green ones and tried to see just how far the light would go? Pretty far right but do you know it could make it to the moon and back if there was a nice mirrored surface to bounce it off of and a strong enough power source.
Well there are mirrors on the moon, designed by NASA engineers and placed by the Apollo moon mission teams, these special mirrors collect light from any angle and return it to earth. The challenge is finding these mirrors.
This video reveals the presence of the mirrors ( not the location sorry), and highlights one particular telescope that is specially outfitted with a laser and light sensor to bounce a laser beam off the mirror and back to earth. Even for this high tech telescope the moon based mirrors are hard to find and most the laser photons are never returned to earth, but the ones that do allow researchers to measure the distance to the moon with an incredible accuracy.
What Bouncing A Laser Off The Moon Tells Us About the Moon.
The method is so accurate that it has revealed a problem with the predictions made by Newtonian physics about what the orbit of the moon should be compared to what it actually is.This is a very informative video that makes you appreciate laser technology.