NASA’s latest lunar mission has just given the man in the moon a wake-up call this morning. Two spacecraft in the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite or LCROSS mission impacted the surface of the moon in hopes of finding water.
NASA has confirmed it is certain the two portions of the LCROSS spacecraft impacted the moon successfully. Admittedly, it is easier to make a hard landing than to make a soft one, on the moon.
First, the empty rocket hull, weighing 2.2 tons, hit the bottom of a crater at 5,600 MPH, leaving being a crater of its own approximately 65 feet wide and 13 feet deep. The time of impact was 4:31 PDT.
Four minutes later, the camera-and-instrument laden space probe section of the LCROSS mission, instruments analyzing the first impact all the way, slammed into the same crater while sending telemetry back to NASA.
Part of LCROSS is what would have been space junk, from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the rocket stage. Data from NASAâ€™s LRO has already confirmed the presence of hydrogen within the permanently shadowed craters near the Moonâ€™s poles, and hopes are that the impact of the hull along with the probe section would send up a plume that would expose ice or other evidence of water.
Images from the second stage actually were disappointing. NASA had “advertised” rather spectacular images, but those did not appear. It will likely take weeks to analyze the data.
There had been wild speculation that LCROSS was really a NASA mission to bomb extraterrestrials that we secretly know exist on the moon. Others were concerned that the impact caused by the so-called NASA moon bombing will be such that the moon will be moved further away from the earth, causing cataclysmic results on the Earth.
We’re all still here, so unless extraterrestrials attack us soon, it appears neither scenario was correct.
Watch a video report of the LCROSS impact: