Did you know that NASA bombed the moon with a 2 ton kinetic missile?
(CNN) — NASA said Friday’s rocket and satellite strike on the moon was a success, kicking up enough dust for scientists to determine whether or not there is water on the moon.
An artist’s rendering shows the LCROSS spacecraft, left, separating from its Centaur rocket.
“We have the data we need to actually address the questions we set out to address,” said Anthony Colaprete, principal investigator for the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, mission.
It will be awhile before all the data from the satellite can be analyzed to determine if there is water on the moon, according to LCROSS project manager Dan Andrews.
Andrews said that “the spacecraft performed beautifully.”
NASA crashed the rocket and a satellite into the moon’s surface on Friday morning in a $79 million mission.
NASA televised live images of the LCROSS as it crashed into a crater near the moon’s south pole.
Minutes before its impact, the satellite guided a rocket into the Cabeus crater in an effort to kick up enough dust to help the LCROSS find whether there is any water in the moon’s soil.
The Centaur upper-stage rocket impacted the moon shortly after 7:30 a.m. ET, and the satellite followed it four minutes later.
The LCROSS carried spectrometers, near-infrared cameras, a visible camera and a visible radiometer to help NASA scientists analyze the resulting plumes of dust — more than 250 metric tons’ worth — for water vapor.
But immediate NASA images of the crash produced no sign of the plumes, which were expected to rise six kilometers from the moon’s surface, said John Marmie, LCROSS deputy project manager.
“Everyone was like, ‘What’s happening here?’ ” Marmie said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have good data there.”
Observatories on Earth did confirm they saw plumes after the crashes, Marmie said. Watch as a mission official explains the importance of finding water »
The orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed the impacts. Meanwhile, hundreds of telescopes on Earth focused on the moon, hoping to catch a glimpse of two plumes.
The Cabeus crater lies in permanent shadow, making observations inside the crater difficult.
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, who watched at a public event at the Newseum in Washington, noted the great interest in the NASA mission.
“We had families … literally coming in off the street” to
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