NASA probe hits moon south pole looking for water - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

NASA probe hits moon south pole looking for water

NASA has successfully bulldozed two spacecraft into the moon's south pole in a search for hidden ice, but without the promised live photos.

First a 2.2-ton empty rocket hull smacked the moon's south pole at 7:31 a.m. EDT Friday. Then four minutes later the camera-and-instrument laden space probe made its death plunge.

The smaller probe had five cameras and four other scientific instruments and NASA had touted live photos on its web site. But those images didn't occur. NASA officials say they are sure the two probes crashed and looking to see what happened to the pictures.

Pictures were live until seconds before impact. The intentional crashes had been expected to kick up miles of lunar dust. The space probe is called LCROSS, short for Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.

Moonstruck: NASA probes hit moon looking for water, pictures

So where are the pictures? NASA crashed two probes into moon's south pole this morning in a search for hidden ice. But the live pictures of the impact and the six-mile-long plume of lunar dust that had been expected didn't come. The images showed the moon getting close, but cut out before any plume could be seen.

Instruments confirm the empty rocket smashed into the moon as planned, followed four minutes later by a probe equipped with cameras.

At the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, people arrived before dawn to watch it all. A telescope demonstrator there called the show "anticlimactic," saying he was hoping to see "a flash or a flare."

NASA is promising the pictures will be added to its Web site. But so far, the images are still said to be "on the way in." NASA is trying to confirm a theory that water is hidden below the barren lunar surface. That would be a key resource if people go back to the moon.

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