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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Crashing the Moon
13 December 2012 2:45 pm
Tomorrow morning, NASA mission planners will begin steering two probes that are now circling the moon to a smashing demise. The craft—named Ebb and Flow in a NASA-sponsored contest won by schoolchildren in Montana—have been measuring subtle variations in the moon's gravitational field in unprecedented detail since soon after they entered lunar orbit a little less than a year ago. With the gravity-mapping mission now over, if all goes according to schedule, the probes' Thelma-and-Louise moment will occur at approximately 5:28 p.m. EST on Monday, 17 December, when the craft slam into a 2-kilometer-tall mountain in the northern polar regions of the moon, NASA announced in a press conference today. Both of the washing machine-sized craft trace the same path around the moon, but because one orbits about 44 kilometers ahead of the other one, the impacts will happen about 20 seconds apart. Although the probes will strike an area of the moon that's dark at the time and visible from Earth, it's not likely that backyard astronomers will be able to observe anything because the craft are small and their fuel tanks will be empty, researchers say. Before-and-after images of the region taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will provide data that will allow researchers to estimate the strength and cohesiveness of surface rocks at the impact sites.
See more ScienceShots.