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NASA finds the smoking crater left by its crashed dust probe

NASA finds the smoking crater left by its crashed dust probe
Steve Dent
Steve Dent|@stevetdent|October 30, 2014 10:31 AM

NASA just spotted a needle in a haystack: the remains of the lunar dust probe LADEE, which was deliberately crashed into the dark side of the moon last year. The satellite was launched from Wallops Island a year ago to determine if lunar dust tends to go high up into space (spoiler: it doesn't). If you're wondering why NASA deliberately ended the valiant LADEE so ignominiously, it's simple. The 844 pound probe was unable to maintain its orbit, and since the scientists didn't want it to crash into any moon landing sites (however unlikely), they steered it to the far side of the moon. It was spotted by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) on the eastern rim of the Sundman V crater, only 295m (1000 feet) from its originally predicted location. Pretty fancy shootin', NASA.

[Image credits: NASA/LROC]

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NASA finds the smoking crater left by its crashed dust probe