LCROSS Impact Video: No Sky Show

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October 9, 2009—NASA's "moon bombing" Friday morning was successful, but the LCROSS impact proved anticlimatic to many skywatchers.

© 2009 National Geographic; Video Courtesy NASA

Unedited Transcript

NASA has accomplished another first.

NASA SOUNDBITE: Pete Worden, Director, NASA Ames Research Ctr. Really Cool! We kicked up some moon dust and.

It has successfully crashed a satellite and its rockets upper stage into the moon--- intentionally--- to find signs of water ice under the lunar surface.

The impact, viewed from the crashing satellite was less than spectacular if compared to a Hollywood version. Even NASA-TV analysts werent sure of what was seen moments after impact.

SOUNDBITE: Michael Bicay, Science Director, NASA Ames Research Ctr. "Hard to tell, what we saw there.

But NASA achieved what was intended.

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission, known as L-CROSS, first saw the satellite separate from its rocket upper stage, Centaur. Then, commanding it to crash 40 minutes later into the Cabeus crater near the moons South Pole at 7:31am Eastern time, Friday morning.

The explosion was witnessed by the satellite.

When the rocket hit, it kicked up debris from the crater floor. From this, scientists are analyzing what was seen.

SOUNDBITE: Anthony Colaprete, Principal Investigator, NASA LCROSS There was an impact, we saw that not going to say anything though, yet about water. (paraphrasing)

NASA has photos and video taken from several observatories, and while the impact is not readily visible, the scientists say they have volumes of data to study.

SOUNDBITE: Jennifer Heldmann, Observation Lead, NASA LCROSS This is from the MMT observatory and it shows the impact (paraphrasing)

The L-CROSS team had concluded Cabeus provided the best chance for meeting its mission goalsto find water ice under the rocks, and see it ejected from the surface during the explosion.

Some theories had suggested the lunar pits held vast stores of water.

The presence of water on the moon could make future human visits easier. The ice could be used for water and oxygen.

Scientists will now spend the next several weeks analyzing the data collected from L-CROSS.

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