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LCROSS impacts Moon
Posted: Fri, Oct 9, 2009, 2:19 PM ET (1819 GMT)
LCROSS spacecraft illustration (NASA) A NASA spacecraft and its upper stage impacted the lunar surface early Friday, but did not create a flash or plume readily visible from the Earth. NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) hit the Cabeus crater in the Moon's southern polar regions at 7:36 am EDT (1136 GMT), about five minutes after its Centaur upper stage hit a different region of the same crater. Scientists thought the impacts might create a flash, followed by a plume of dust, that could be visible to telescopes on Earth, although initial analysis of observations failed to turn up evidence of either. Project scientists, though, said they did get the data they needed from the spacecraft and will be analyzing it and other observations in the days and weeks to come. The $79-million mission was designed to look for evidence of deposits of water ice that scientists hypothesize may be hidden in permanently shadowed regions of craters near the poles.
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