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LCROSS Ends With Dual Impact at Lunar South Pole

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 9, 2009


NASA’s LCROSS mission came to an end on Friday morning with a dual impact in Cabeus crater at the moon’s south pole.

A Centaur upper stage impacted at approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (4:30 a.m. PDT). A shepherding satellite brimming with instruments struck the surface four minutes later.  Initial video from the shepherding vehicle did not appear to show the impact debris field that was thrown up. However, NASA scientists are analyzing the data from that instrument and others aboard the spacecraft.

NASA is hoping that the debris field will show evidence of subsurface water ice. If water does exist in large quantities, it would make human exploration and colonization much easier. And it would help NASA to justify its embattled Constellation program, which is designed to return astronauts to the moon.

NASA has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. EDT (7:00 a.m. PDT) in which LCROSS scientists will discuss preliminary results. This press conference will be webcast on NASA web site ( and telecast on NASA TV.