Posted by: drew | April 11, 2006

NASA to Blow Up the Moon

Woohoo! Does it get any better than blowing stuff up in space? I don't think so my friend.

As part of the plan to put robot explorers — and, later, people — on the moon, NASA will crash a spacecraft into the lunar surface in 2008. The explosion should be visible from Earth.

A team announced Monday that an additional mission, known as LCrOSS, has been added to the first planned flight of the long-term lunar project, which will send the Lunar Reconnaisannce Orbiter on a mapping project.

NASA said that the LRO launch vehicle had extra space, so proposals were sought for an extra mission. LCrOSS was chosen from 19 submissions.In that project, the SUV-sized upper stage that will take the equipment from Earth orbit to the moon will then crash into a crater near the moon's south pole.

A follow-on craft will then be able to analyze the material as it flies through the debris.Mission managers said they would look for water, water vapor and hydrogen, among other elements and minerals.The crash should create a 17-foot-deep crater and a plume of debris that reaches more than 30 miles high.

Amateur astronomers should be able to watch the material rise, officials said.The knowledge from the lunar project is expected to pave the way to a manned flight to Mars someday.

Linkie to NASA site.

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