NASA to Smash Rocket Into Moon Tomorrow

New crater will be blasted into surface as NASA hunts for buried ice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 4:52 AM CDT
A satellite image of tomorrow's impact site.   (AP Photo/EAS)
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(Newser) – If there's ice under the moon's surface, NASA aims to find it tomorrow. A rocket will smash into a crater near the moon's south pole, kicking up hundreds of thousands of pounds of lunar dirt. The dirt will be analyzed for traces of ice or water by a satellite following close behind, which will crash into the moon itself 4 minutes later. NASA will show the crashes—scheduled for 7:31am EDT—live on its website.

"This is going to be pretty cool," the project's manager told  AP. "We'll be going right down into it. Seeing the moon come up at you is pretty spectacular." The satellite took the first-ever thermal images of the dark side of the moon yesterday as part of the search for water. NASA scientists say that if they manage to find water, it will open the door for lunar colonies and for using the moon as a staging ground for manned missions further into space.