NASA to Send 2 Probes Crashing Into Moon
Probes are out of fuel, and not expected to explode
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2012 9:14 AM CST
This artist rendering released by NASA shows the twin spacecraft Ebb and Flow orbiting the moon. After nearly a year orbiting the moon, the two probes will smash into the moon's surface on Monday.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – NASA is set to crash a pair of washing machine-sized probes into the moon on Monday, after months spent examining and gathering data about the moon's surface, reports AFP. Though Ebb and Flow will hit the surface at a speedy 3,760mph, they'll be out of fuel when they do so, so no "big explosion" is expected, says the project's lead. But if there is one, we'll miss it: That north pole region where they'll hit will be in shadow at the time, preventing NASA from photographing it.

Ebb and Flow have been circling the moon since Jan. 1, at a range of 14 to 34 miles above the surface. But as the probes take their last breath, they'll conduct one final experiment: They'll fire their main engines until all the fuel is spent, allowing NASA to calculate their fuel levels and better understand future fuel needs. "Our lunar twins may be in the twilight of their operational lives, but one thing is for sure. They are going down swinging," adds the project's head.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Dec 17, 2012 8:25 PM CST
Great just great....I bet they crack the monolith in half .....sorry Hal
Dec 14, 2012 12:14 PM CST
There was no mention about the seismometers that were placed on the Moon by astronauts. Are they still functioning?
Dec 14, 2012 10:10 AM CST
Billions of dollars and they cant save them---FAIL!