- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
NASA moon craft spots Ebb and Flow crash sites
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - When NASA’s twin spacecraft Ebb and Flow crashed into the moon last year, scientists did not count on seeing the aftermath.
On Tuesday, the space agency released before-and-after pictures of the lunar north pole where Ebb and Flow came to rest. Months after the back-to-back, mission-ending dives, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter flew over the crash sites and imaged the final resting spots.
Ebb and Flow broke into smithereens upon impact and pinpointing the small craters they carved was difficult, said Arizona State University researcher Mark Robinson, who operates the orbiter’s camera.
Even the mission’s chief scientist, Maria Zuber, was surprised when she saw the impact sites, which looked like dots.
“I was expecting to see skid tracks,” said Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ebb and Flow deliberately plunged into a lunar mountain in December after mapping the moon’s gravity field in unprecedented detail. The location was chosen because it was far away from the Apollo landings and other historic sites.
Since the finale occurred in the dark, telescopes from Earth did not capture it. Even the reconnaissance orbiter had to wait until sunlight streamed to the northern lunar region.
Launched in 2011, the spacecraft spent nearly a year flying in formation, exclusively collecting gravitational data. Among the discoveries: The lunar crust is much thinner and more battered than scientists had imagined.
Initially flying at 35 miles above the lunar surface, the spacecraft dipped lower and lower in altitude during the $487 million mission.
Scientists are still poring through the last chunk of data beamed back just before their demise.
The Ebb and Flow crash sites were named in honor of mission team member, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space who died last year. Ride’s educational company supplied the cameras on the mission that allowed students to take their own pictures of craters and other geological features.
Follow Alicia Chang at http://twitter.com/SciWriAlicia
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world