NASA spacecraft crashes into the moon

By | October 9, 2009

NASA spacecraft crashes into the moon

On Friday morning, NASA successfully rammed the LCROSS satellite and its booster rocket into a crater near the south pole of the moon in an attempt to search for hidden pockets of ice.

The Centaur booster rocket hit the Cabeus crater at 4:31 a.m. PT and the LCROSS satellite followed at 4:36 a.m. PT.

Although the flash from LCROSS didn’t produce spectacular fireworks as many had hoped, it can be seen as a small flash northwest of center in this image. A zoom is at bottom left and an even larger image of the flash is at bottom right. NASA’s live coverage went blank just as the impacts occurred but the space agency says their instruments were working. – zdnet

Take that, moon!NASA smacked two spacecraft into the lunar south pole Friday morning in a search for hidden ice. Instruments confirm that a large empty rocket hull barreled into the moon at 7:31 a.m., followed four minutes later by a probe with cameras taking pictures of the first crash.

But the big live public splash people anticipated didn’t quite happen. Screens got fuzz and no immediate pictures of the crash or the six-mile plume of lunar dust that the mission was all about. The public, which followed the crashes on the Internet and at observatories, seemed puzzled.

NASA officials touted loads of data from the probe and telescopes around the world and in orbit. But most of the photos they showed during a Friday morning press conference were from before the crash. The crash photos and videos were few and showed little more than a fuzzy white flash.

Still, NASA scientists were happy.

“This is so cool,” said Jennifer Heldmann, coordinator for NASA’s observation campaign. “We’re thrilled.”

“This is going to change the way we look at the moon,” NASA chief lunar scientist Michael Wargo said at the news conference.

Expectations by the public for live plume video were probably too high and based on pre-crash animations, some of which were not by NASA, project manager Dan Andrews told The Associated Press Friday morning 80 minutes after impact.

Another issue, one NASA thought was a good possibility going into Friday, was that the lighting was bad and work needs to be done on images to make them easier to see, Andrews said. Experts said the images could be essentially “gray against black,” he said. – ap

Not much to see in the way of fireworks. It seems pretty obvious that the moon had been warned NASA was attacking. Who tipped it off? Perhaps it was an Earth woman who felt violated by this attack, or perhaps it was Bill F, who said:

The moon is a huge water balloon. If they pop it with a bomb it’ll burst, the water will fall into Earth’s atmosphere, heat up on entry and turn to steam, which will cook us all. Please stop NASA.

Now the ball is in the moon’s court. What type of counter attack, if any, will it launch upon the Earth? Time will tell.

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