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NASA LCROSS moon impact in T-minus 15, water discovery expected in T-minus 19 (update: video!)


NASA's LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite) mission is coming to a glorious end. The mission launched on June 18, 2009 is just minutes away from making dual-impact on the face of the moon. The first impact sees the Centaur craft hitting the surface at a speed of about 1 mile per second ejecting about 350 tons of debris from a crater about 20-30-meters in diameter and 2- to 4-meters deep. A second Shepherding spacecraft will pass through the debris plume 4 minutes later, collecting and relaying data back to Earth in real-time before meeting its end. With any luck, we'll know shortly if the moon contains the water-ice theorized by scientists... and cheese. While the obvious use of lunar-based water is to sate the thirst of astronauts, it could also be used be make fuel for off-Earth exploration. Hit the read link for live streaming of the mission from NASA -- first impact occurs at 07:31:19 AM EDT.

Update: Impact occurred... are we still here? Data is now being analyzed and NASA is expected to know the facts in about an hour. Post-impact news conference scheduled for 10:00 AM EDT.

Update 2: Video added after the break showing the final minutes before impact. The highlight seems to be the denied high-5 at 5:00 minutes in.

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