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Friday, October 09, 2009

Moon crash: Public yawns, scientists celebrate

NASA's great lunar fireworks finale fizzled. Photos and video of the impact showed little more than a fuzzy white flash.

AP reports:
NASA's great lunar fireworks finale fizzled. After gearing up for the space agency's much-hyped mission to hurl two spacecraft into the moon, the public turned away from the sky Friday anything but dazzled. Photos and video of the impact showed little more than a fuzzy white flash. In social media and live television coverage, many people were disappointed at the lack of spectacle. One person even joked that someone hit the pause button in mission control.

Yet scientists involved in the project were downright gleeful. Sure, there were no immediate pictures of spewing plumes of lunar dust that could contain water, but, they say, there was something more important: chemical signatures in light waves. That's the real bonanza, not pictures of geyser-like eruptions of debris, the scientists said. The mission was executed for "a scientific purpose, not to put on a fireworks display for the public," said space consultant Alan Stern, a former NASA associate administrator for science. READ MORE

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