Spacecraft crashing on the moon

?1. Image of the centaur separation as viewed from the mid infrared camera
2. Image of the centaur separation as viewed from the mid infrared camera
3. STK (satellite toolkit) image of the LCROSS spacecraft after centaur separation

The LCROSS Centaur and Spacecraft impacted the moon at approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT. LCROSS Centaur Separation occurred at 9:50 p.m. EDT (6:50 p.m. PDT), October 8. After separation, the spacecraft performed a 180 degree pitch maneuver (turning around) to reorient the LCROSS science payload towards the receding Centaur. The Centaur separation images are as follow, all credit to NASA.

Twin impacts on the moon’s surface occurred early Friday in a search for water ice. Scientists will now analyze data from the spacecraft’s instruments to assess whether water ice is present. The satellite traveled 5.6 million miles during an historic 113-day mission that ended in the Cabeus crater, a permanently shadowed region near the moon’s south pole. The spacecraft was launched June 18th as a companion mission to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Other observatories reported capturing both impacts. The data will be shared with the LCROSS science team for analysis. The LCROSS team expects it to take several weeks of analysis before it can make a definitive assessment of the presence or absence of water ice. The images and video collected by the amateur astronomer community and the public also will be used to enhance our knowledge about the moon.