NASA to Smash Moon in Hunt for Lunar Ice

Spacecraft will study dust after partner vessel crashes
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 8:08 PM CST
A sequence of images taken approximately every twenty minutes show the moon passing through the shadow of the earth as photographed in Toronto Wednesday Feb. 20, 2008. NASA is preparing two spacecraft...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – No, they're not angry at the moon—but NASA is preparing two spacecraft for head-on collisions with the lunar South Pole. The idea is that the double impact might uncover ice suspected to be hiding in the moon's poles, reports. Scientists detected large amounts of hydrogen there on a previous smash-and-learn expedition.

Next year, a small, shepherding spacecraft will monitor and analyze the plume of moon dust produced by the impact of its larger partner vessel, before crashing itself into a neighboring crater. "I think that people are apprehensive about it because it seems violent or crude, but it's very economical," said a NASA official.