New Views of LCROSS the Moon Smasher

Artist impression of LCROSS. Image credit: NASANASA artists have released new images of the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission. This is a secondary payload that will travel to the Moon with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Remember the Deep Impact mission, which smashed a probe into an asteroid? Same thing, except this time the target is the Moon.

The goal of LCROSS is to help NASA determine if there’s water ice hidden in permanently darkened craters around the Moon’s southern pole. If there’s water ice available, it would be a tremendous resource for future lunar bases. The ice could be used to create air, drinking water, and even rocket fuel.

Just like Deep Impact, LCROSS will consist of a shepherding spacecraft and an impactor. The impactor will crash into the Moon first, and then the shepherd spacecraft will fly through the cloud of debris taking measurements. It’ll impact the surface of the Moon too, becoming a second impactor.

The new images show a series of stages for the LCROSS mission. Just after launch, attached to the top of a Centaur upper stage rocket, approaching the Moon, and just after the impactor has smashed into the Moon.

Original Source: NASA News Release