The Straits Times
Published on Dec 14, 2012

Nasa moon-mapping mission to come to a crashing end


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida(REUTERS) - Nasa plans to crash a pair of small robotic science probes into the moon next week after a successful year-long mission to learn what lies beneath the lunar surface, officials said on Thursday.

The twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or Grail, spacecraft will make suicidal plunges on Monday into a mountain near the moon's north pole, a site selected to avoid the chance of hitting any of the Apollo or other lunar relics.

The impacts, which are not expected to be visible from Earth, will take place about 20 seconds apart at 5.28pm EST (6.28am, Singapore time) on Monday.

"They're going to be completely blown apart," Grail project manager David Lehman, with Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told reporters on a conference call.