Before-and-after moon pictures show deliberate crash hardly dented the landscape
LOS ANGELES — 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 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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Top U.S. general wants more troops in Afghanistan
- Hillary Clinton kept in touch with key donors, emails show
- Despite sunny forecast, South Carolina ordeal far from over
- Top general in Afghanistan: U.S. strike on hospital a mistake
- Damage from trillions of gallons of rain in week will cost S.C. over $1B
- Survivor: Oregon college gunman spared 1 to give police a message
- Deal close on Pacific free trade pact
- Redesigned Confederate flag license plate on sale in Ga.
- Inmates slip away en route to halfway houses, documents show
- South Carolina flood: Door-to-door searches, swamped roads
- Allies reach Pacific Rim trade deal likely to divide political parties