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View Full Version : Crashing Into the Moon... On Purpose



Fraser
2006-Jul-31, 09:38 PM
It might sound hard to believe, but dozens of spacecraft have crashed themselves onto the surface of the Moon. All in the name of science. The first was the Soviet spacecraft Luna 2, which smashed into the lunar surface in 1959. Well, an upcoming mission is all set to do it again. NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will launch in 2008 together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Its booster rocket will smash into the Moon first, carving out a large crater, and then the smaller Shepherding spacecraft will smash into the same spot, analyzing the debris cloud before it's destroyed too.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/07/31/crashing-into-the-moon-on-purpose/)

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Aug-01, 01:06 PM
Is this cheaper than landing a Spirit or Opportunity type rover? It just seems like scientists are having fun (like movie makers blow things up for effect, like Pete Townsend smashes guitars..), which is fine for them.

I hope none of this will upset the moons orbit.

Hamlet
2006-Aug-01, 01:13 PM
Is this cheaper than landing a Spirit or Opportunity type rover? It just seems like scientists are having fun (like movie makers blow things up for effect, like Pete Townsend smashes guitars..), which is fine for them.


They're trying to do science by analyzing the debris cloud from the impact. It's not just a case of "boys with toys". The LCROSS impactor is hitching a ride with LRO and they will work together to gather the data. Deep Impact used a similar technique for analyzing a comet.



I hope none of this will upset the moons orbit.

There is no chance of this. The probe is insignificant when compared to the mass of the Moon. It's akin to a mosquito hitting a tractor trailer at highway speed. It won't make any difference to the Moon's orbit.

jseefcoot
2006-Aug-01, 04:18 PM
I imagine that crashing an impactor probe into the surface of a moon is much more cost efficient than sending a rover to do the same science. I think this is an example of utilizing only what you need to get the job done, rather than 'boys with toys'. Those are expensive toys and I don't think they would allow an impact if a decent amount of science could not be derived from it.

JESMKS
2006-Aug-02, 07:37 PM
I think the landing of some geophones (lunaphones) prior to a major impact would provide a lot of information as to the internal structure of the moon.