NASA shoots lasers at the Moon, because science is awesome

Last night was "International Observe the Moon Night", and of the 400 or so Moon-centric gatherings around the world, this one had to be the most spectacular, as NASA shot laser blasts at the Moon...for strictly scientific purposes, honest.

Don't worry, this isn't the opening shots in NASA's long delayed invasion of the Moon. The laser, located at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Laser Ranging Facility in Greenbelt, Maryland, is used to track the location of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as it moves around the Moon.

The probe is about the size of a small SUV, it's moving at 3,600 miles per hours, and it's located 250,000 miles away, and yet NASA can figure out exactly where it is at any given moment by firing lasers at it 28 times every second and then measuring how the focused light is reflected back to Earth.

Usually, these activities are closed to the public, but NASA allowed tourists into the facility to watch the operation as part of International Observe the Moon Night. Photographer Debbie Mccallum was able to get this awesome photo, which you can see in its full glory below.

[Space]