Twin NASA Spacecraft to Plunge Into Lunar Mountain
Ebb and Flow chased each other around the moon for nearly a year, peering into the interior. With dwindling fuel supplies, the twin NASA spacecraft are ready for a dramatic finish.
On Monday, they will plunge — seconds apart — into a mountain near the moon’s north pole. It’s a carefully choreographed ending so that they don’t end up crashing into the Apollo landing sites or any other place on the moon with special importance.
Skywatchers on Earth won’t be able to view the double impacts since they will occur in the dark.
“We’re not putting out an all-points bulletin to amateur astronomers to get their telescopes out,” said mission chief scientist Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Earthlings may be shut out of the spectacle, but the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter circling the moon will pass over the crash site and attempt to photograph the skid marks left by the washing machine sized-spacecraft as they slam into the surface at 3,800 mph.