Saturday, April 15, 2006

Science Saturday III: Moon Kaboom Upcoming

NASA plans to crash a space probe into the surface of the moon in 2009 in a quest for water, the key ingredient for supporting future human outposts there. The plume of debris from the explosion will be so big that it will be visible on Earth through telescopes.

The mission is scheduled to be launched in October 2008 with a rocket carrying a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and an SUV-sized impact vehicle.

The orbiter will circle the moon for at least a year mapping the surface, searching for water and scouting for potential future landing sites to send astronauts. The impactor will be released in January 2009 and plunge at 4,500 miles per hours toward a frozen crater at the moon's South Pole believed to contain hidden ice. The orbiter will fly through the debris plume to try to detect traces of water.

CNN has more here.

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