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With their fuel tanks almost on empty, NASA devised a controlled crash to avoid contacting any of the treasured sites on the moon. Mission control at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory applauded when controllers lost signal from the spacecraft.

The last time the space agency intentionally fired manmade objects at the moon was in 2009, but it was for the sake of science. The crash was a public relations dud _ spectators barely saw a faint flash _ but the experiment proved that the moon contained water.

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