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back to article NASA to smash its spacecraft INTO THE MOON

NASA's twin lunar-orbiting GRAIL spacecraft are preparing to smash into the surface of the Moon as a final send-off. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) ships, Ebb and Flow, will be intentionally crash-landed on the Moon now that their low orbit and fuel levels have ended their mission abilities. The crash …

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Trollface

What do the Greens have to say about this blatant pollution!

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Unhappy

Re: What do the Greens have to say about this blatant pollution!

I'm more disappointed that they couldn't grab a video feed

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Hmm!

If they aren't sure how much fuel they have left, how can they predict how much delta V they will generate, and decide when and how fast they are going to crash? Or did the Mayans forsee this in advance?

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Headmaster

Re: Hmm!

I'm guessing they fire them towards the destination, adjusted for the angle of approach. So that they can only get there quicker, and not change the destination.

Download Kerbal Space Program (demo of buy the full) and you can actually do this for yourself in a scaled down moon/earth version. Should take you no longer than 15 minutes. That's assuming it's done in your first attempt. It takes most about 100 tries. :D

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Unhappy

Re: Hmm!

NASA plans to spew whats left into the Lunar atmosphere and polute it just like Earths.

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Paris Hilton

Re: "Lunar Atmosphere"

Lol.

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Boffin

Re: Hmm!

"It takes most about 100 tries"

Ah, it took me about four.

Mind you, I have been reading the old archived NASA spacecraft operations manuals for quite a few years now.

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WTF?

Probably going to get flamed to death here, but this seems like mindless vandalism to me...

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> this seems like mindless vandalism to me...

Maybe it is, but the first thing to do would to explore how likely the following two assertions are to be correct:

-The engineers have a reason to do what they are doing, but subtleties of their reasoning have not survived the journey through a Reg article... or

-The engineers are mindless vandals.

My first assumption was that it was being done to study the resulting impact, but the article says that won't be seen at the time. Maybe it is enough for them to study the crater/ejected material after the event, but they are destroying the second probe soon afterwards. Maybe it is just some house-keeping, keeping junk out of orbit so as not to pose a danger to future missions to the Moon (however small a chance). Dunno.

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Well, according to the New York Times the thing is going to crash on the 'dark' side of the moon. Of course, if everything is dark there, tourists won't see it anyway.

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Happy

shits and giggles

If you had the opportunity to smash something big and expensive into the moon - why wouldn't you?

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Boffin

It is a re-test of lithobraking technology

It's just a re-test of the lithobraking technology already used by Beagle 2, Mars Polar Lander and others....

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Alien

@ Dave 126

Yes, its "orbital cleanup". Also the spacecraft are going to crash into the moon anyway, because their orbit is already so low, so NASA is doing it in a controlled fashion both to rehearse controlled crashes and to do a little research on fuel use/needs before the crash arrives.

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Boffin

moon space junk

"Maybe it is just some house-keeping, keeping junk out of orbit so as not to pose a danger to future missions to the Moon"

That explanation actually makes a lot of sense. Moon having no significant atmosphere, any junk orbiting it will remain there practically forever, unlike junk in Earth orbits.

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Alien

Dear Earth--Stop dropping your crap into our backyard!!

Love, the Moonmen....

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jai
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Re: Dear Earth--Stop dropping your crap into our backyard!!

Moomins? i thought it was the Clangers that lived up there....

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Re: Dear Earth--Stop dropping your crap into our backyard!!

Sadly, being a Yank I grew up without Clangers....

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Coat

Re: Dear Earth--Stop dropping your crap into our backyard!!

Sadly, being a Yank I grew up without Clangers....

Don't worry. As you get older and spend more time sitting down....

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jai
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5 days?

Monday 17th evening: craft impact with the moon

Tuesday 18th : crack pots claim moon is wobbling. NASA issue press release denouncing such theories.

Wednesday 19th : serious scientist concur that their measurements indicate a distinct oscillation. NASA remain quiet.

Thursday 20th : Both amateur astrologists and professional boffins suggest that the Moon may be getting closer to the earth. NASA release press statement, neither confirming nor denying this, but irrefutably denying that it could, in any way, be their fault.

Friday 21st : Somewhere on a different plane of existence, the sublimed Mayan's tell us "We tried to warn you"

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Facepalm

Re: 5 days?

This 'crash' is of course a subtle fix for the woo-woo claims that "The moon keeps turning upside down!!"

www.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D7ABqxAd3V38&ei=fUTLUKmvGtKz0QXj1oG4Dg&usg=AFQjCNGFHTLRrIJaMW6n5BLzv98ohU-juA&bvm=bv.1355325884,d.d2k

oh dear...

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Black Helicopters

Re: 5 days?

Why everyone knows that the reason NASA is so fond of crashing stuff and bombing the moon isn't to get rid of spacecraft or to identify what's in the blast dust, but that they are trying to wipe out the ancient buildings and artefacts that the Apollo astronauts encountered, in case of any near-future human settlement.

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Re: 5 days?

But then why was the US "nuke-a-moon" program cancelled? And was Smoking Man involved in any way, kind or shape?

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Trollface

Re: 5 days?

The Mayans couldn't even predict their own demise, so their soothsaying abilities are somewhat suspect.

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Joke

"Such a unique end-of-mission scenario requires extensive and detailed mission planning and navigation," said Lehman.

As opposed to doing it in the beginning of the mission, where it only requires confusing kilometers with miles.

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Mushroom

First

NASA indicate The Moon has cracks on it:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/06/moon_has_deep_cracks

Then they crash the two probes into it.....Hope they don't turn the cracks into fissures.

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Re: First

Jusging by the amount of times the moon has been hit but objects far larger than a satellite, I predict that the effect will be measurable, but trivial

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Windows

That'll put the "man-in the-moons" eye out.

Still, the man OF the moon, who went there very recently had a monocle. Hope it was made of "Gorilla-glass"

(The oscillaton is called a Libration, BTW. It's why 54% of the moon is visible)

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WTF?

Eh? Come again?

"Such a unique end-of-mission scenario requires extensive and detailed mission planning and navigation,"

WTF? If they get it wrong they might miss the moon, have the things magically achieve escape velocity and hit something else?

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Facepalm

Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

...as no less than the New York Times did. How this nonsense, transparently false even to the ancients, still gets into news items of large outlets that have science staff, is totally baffling to me.

The Moon no more has a 'dark' side than the Earth.

It is the far side, which word likewise has only one syllable, and the added virtue of one less letter. It shouldn't be too hard to spell.

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Holmes

Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/science/space/two-space-probes-to-crash-intentionally-on-moon.html?_r=0

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Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

Calling it the Far Side of the Moon suggests that it populated by cows wearing harlequin spectacles, stupid children and smoking dinosaurs.

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Thumb Up

Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

Not only that, but cows that stand up, and only go onto all fours when they notice a satellite coming. And bears picturing themselves fixing up broken down cars.

(my favourite two that I can remember)

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Thumb Up

Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

Up voted purely for the reference to the genius that is Gary Larson

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Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

My favourite was 'Midvale School for the Gifted'.

For those not familiar it depicted a child trying to enter said school by pushing on a door marked pull (or vice versa as my memory isn't what it was)

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Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

There is no dark side of the moon. Matter of fact it's all dark.

Sorry, just had a Floyd moment there.

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Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

Maybe it does have a dark side and it just isn't saying.

I mean, Jimmy Saville had a dark side, didn't he? Maybe the moon has all sorts of dark stuff. Maybe a secret space-nazi base...?

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Happy

Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

Granted, but the evocation of Gary Larson and Pink Floyd is a small price to pay (or maybe even a bonus) for free science education for people who still think the moon landing was filmed in Hollywood and that global warming is going to fry the planet to a crisp by 2100.

And the NYT science filters ought to be doing something for their paycheck.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

" free science education for people who still think the moon landing was filmed in Hollywood and that global warming is a hoax."

FTFY

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Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...

Well, most people realize global warming hysteria is not a hoax. The evidence of Al Gore's pulpit thumping is not absent from youTube and other peer-review sources.

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Coat

Artists reconstruction

An earlier artist's reconstruction of NASA's mission:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/04/Le_Voyage_dans_la_lune.jpg/220px-Le_Voyage_dans_la_lune.jpg

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Its a pity there is not enough fuel on board to send them off into deep space as silent Earth emissary

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Mushroom

Last Post

I do hope that NASA get a bugler in to play the last post for the demise of these valiant probes.

They will know how much fuel is left by firing 2 opposing motors thereby not imparting any delta-v to the device. C'mon, that's basic Physics!!

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Boffin

Re: Last Post

Basic physics may think that, unfortunately when combined with basic plumbing it also thinks you'd better have an imparted sense of down if you want to run the fuel to depletion and not have it floating in blobs in the middle of the tank...

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Re: Last Post

Firing two opposing motors would only tell you how long the motors fired, not how much thrust they developed. By firing one motor and imparting delta-v you get a much more accurate picture.

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· · · — — — · · ·

Ebb to Flow

"Beeep Beeep Boooop Beeep!?"

Flow to Ebb

"Plip diddly Plip"

Ebb & Flow to Curiosity

"Plip Beep Biddly Pim Boop Pom?"

ROTM

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Happy

Re: · · · — — — · · ·

They must have a funny bone -- trying to pull a "Peter Griffin with moustache "

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Childcatcher

Won't somebody think of the clangers

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Coat

That's why they have to crash these things.

We don't want to hit the Iron Chicken with space junk.

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Couldn't they delay it just a little while?

At least until the probes come around to the daylit side. Video feed. Got to be of some use, as well as being mildly interesting to watch.

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