The LCROSS Cratering Experiment

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Science  22 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6003, pp. 468-472
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187454

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As its detached upper-stage launch vehicle collided with the surface, instruments on the trailing Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Shepherding Spacecraft monitored the impact and ejecta. The faint impact flash in visible wavelengths and thermal signature imaged in the mid-infrared together indicate a low-density surface layer. The evolving spectra reveal not only OH within sunlit ejecta but also other volatile species. As the Shepherding Spacecraft approached the surface, it imaged a 25- to-30-meter–diameter crater and evidence of a high-angle ballistic ejecta plume still in the process of returning to the surface—an evolution attributed to the nature of the impactor.

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