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NASA Plans to Smash Spacecraft into the Moon

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the hit-it-hard dept.

Moon 176

djasbestos writes "NASA is planning to smash a spacecraft into the Moon in order to look for hydrogen deposits in the poles. More notably, it will impact with significantly greater force (100x, per the article) than previous Moon collisions, such as by the Lunar Prospector and Smart-1 probes. Admiral Ackbar was unreachable for comment as to the exact location and size of the Moon's thermal exhaust port."

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176 comments

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22585776)

Many Bothans died to bring samzenpus this information...

Obligatory Revisited (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22587276)

The moon's poles can't repel firepower of that magnitude!

That's no moon... (4, Funny)

rhomboid (218475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585796)

It's a space station...

Re:That's no moon... (2, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585900)

And there it is, the last star wars quote ever on /.

Right... (5, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586432)

Which insensitive clod tagged this story Beagle3?

This entire thread will be kept behind until whoever did it owns up...
Come on, I can wait all day if necessary.

Re:That's no moon... (0, Offtopic)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586074)

I just played a heart in every round of Hearts. Against Bill Gates. I call it "shooting the moon with a big ass spacecraft doing mach 100!"

Practising... (4, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585816)

...for another Mars mission, eh?

It had to be said - even if it is terribly trolly.

Re:Practising... (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585880)

Either that, or the Russians weren't impressed by the recent satellite shootdown, so the top brass want to do one more missile test with a slightly bigger satellite.

Re:Practising... (-1, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585998)

You mean "Chinese"...Russia is soooo 1960s.

In China (2, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586404)

Russian Spaceships Fly Yo....

Oh wait, that's actually true..

Yeah?! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587220)

Well, in Korea, only old people fly spaceships.

Wait...why is it that I can see a spaceship, flying down the left lane at well below the speed limit with its left blinker on the whole way?

Re:Practising... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586170)

Or you can only get the current administration to fund Dukes of Hazard style 'science'.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586836)

satellites hit missiles!!!

Don't knock experience... (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587158)

... and the Mars engineers have some of the best experience in the world with smashing objects into objects in space.

It may work better if they don't tell them it is supposed to crash into the moon, just have them plan another mission to Mars.

hehehe... nice way to put it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22585826)

it's easier this way as one does not have to worry about those pesky "landings".... just smash it to smitereens and call it a day! :)

Re:hehehe... nice way to put it (3, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586412)

So... They want to deal with starting and flying but not landing? Oh my god, call the DHS!

Wrong guy surely (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585864)

Admiral Ackbar led the attack on the second Battle Station. The thermal exhaust port weakness was on the first.

Re:Wrong guy surely (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585964)

Heh, I'd bet all my mod points that you get modded up for this.
A: You corrected someone's error
B: It was Star Wars related
C: You made fun of someone who thought he was funny, but many people don't.
D: You dead panned it.

Re:Wrong guy surely (2, Informative)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586160)

You are right. We should try contacting General Antilles, who's in charge of the small rebellion planning an attack run on the battle station. I heard he just received some secret plans to it.

          -dZ.

Re:Wrong guy surely (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586354)

Actually the weakness was on both, that's why they went after the second one.. and it was a trap. In fact, the weakness was on all the big craft of the era. Star Destroyers were just as vulnerable to "Trench Run Syndrome" as the Death Stars. Snub starfighters were so successful at taking out large ships using TRS that the Imperial tactic of leaving small ships to planetary defenses had to be changed, thus creating the Lancer-class ships. Kuat Drive Yards designed and developed the first Lancer-class frigate with twenty quad-laser cannon batteries designed specifically for starfighter hunting. Ironically, the Imperial Starfleet found the Lancer-class too expensive for full fleet deployment. A few frigates made it into various fleets, but most admirals preferred to use, and subsequently lose, their TIE starfighters as anti-starfighter options. As a result, most Lancer-class frigates, like smaller ships before them, were assigned to rear guard operations and planetary defense after all.

Re:Wrong guy surely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586582)

False!

The Second Death Star was built with millions of millimeter-wide exhaust ports to prevent that same attack from succeeding. This is the reason why they had to attack the station while it was still under construction. It is also why they had to FLY into the superstructure and blow up the reactor core directly.

Re:Wrong guy surely (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586614)

Umm.. did you miss the part where the Emperor said the second Death Star *wasn't* under construction and that it was all an elaborate trap? I can understand, seeing as he talks like this [insomnia.org] all the time, but it was kind of a big plot point. The second Death Star was identical to the first.. it was built at the same time as the first.. the Emperor just wanted the Rebels to think it was built in response to the first being destroyed.

Re:Wrong guy surely (4, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587302)

Admiral Ackbar led the attack on the second Battle Station.

Allah'u to his friends.

The thermal exhaust port weakness was on the first.

If someone shot a proton torpedo up your exhaust port, you'd have a moment of weakness too.

How long... (5, Insightful)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585906)

before someone tries to blame high tide, beached whales, and global warming on us crashing shit into the moon?

Re:How long... (5, Funny)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586132)

I blame lunacy.

Re:How long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586628)

That's madness!

Re:How long... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586732)

No. This... Is... NASAAAAAAA!
(kicks probe into gravity well)

Re:How long... (0, Offtopic)

Thrashing Rage (157543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586668)

Maybe this is some sort of goverment effort to control the weather/global warming......hmmm?

whats a tin-foin hat made out of again?

I didn't know planned failure was okay... (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585924)

I am planning on failing my midterms. I expect to fail this midterm by significantly more points (100x per my plans) than previous failures. I am doing this in search of hydrogen deposits in the poles.

Re:I didn't know planned failure was okay... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586486)

Remote sensors indicate methane around Uranus

zzzz (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585934)

well now, lets hope they have better luck looking for hydrogen deposits then the Beagle Martian impacter of a few years ago...!

I mean, seriously, we can get two robotic rover probes on Mars for >3 years but are reduced to slinging a dumb mass to the moon?

Re:zzzz (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586012)

Why go to all the trouble to put a rover on the moon? Get some binoculars, you'll be able to see everything a multi-million dollar robot on the surface would.

Re:zzzz (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586466)

I'd so like to have binoculars that allowed me to see the moon as well as a microscope a hundredth of an inch away from the spot...

Re:zzzz (1)

Darfeld (1147131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586596)

For the same reason we send rover to Mars instead of just looking at the planet from above with satellites I suppose...

I bet it wouldn't cost a single million dollar to build the rover (sending it to the moon could be an other matter thought. And I mean sending it so it can work once arrived. Craters don't count here... But maybe you can group some stuff in the rocket to divide the cost.)

Anyway, if the hydrogen is under the surface, rover won't do the job. The Dumb mass can do it and is much cheaper so...

But there is still a question : Why doing things simple when you can do them complicated?

Has to be done (5, Funny)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585980)

This is Slashdot, so I better get a good old tradition out of the way before someone else does I suppose...

NASA officials has released a press statement saying the spacecraft will not require any special programming to direct it towards a collision with the Moon. They simply plan to install Windows Vista on the craft and let nature take its course.

Re:Has to be done (4, Funny)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586564)

Your information is out of date. In simulations Vista slowed the machine down so badly by the time it got up enough speed to crash the moon was out of alignment. In light of these simulations (and do to budget constraints) they have decided to go with plan b-which will consist of a robotic arm plugging a usb scanner into the underlying Windows 98 operating system at the appropriate time. This will result in further savings in hardware and fuel by lowering the system requirements from "need a second mortgage elite" to "cousin cleetus wally world special".


For further information please see the paper entitled "Using complex instability for positive gain: The use of underlying instabilities inherent in proprietary operating systems with undocumented functions to achieve net gains in proposed Unmanned Procedurally Programmed Missions for Interstellar Scientific Study (UPPMISS) " at NASA.gov

And the bidding begins (2, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585994)

NASA needs funds right? So they should sell the right to name the new crater on ebay.

Re:And the bidding begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586156)

Is "Uranus" taken?

Unfortunately (5, Funny)

TummyX (84871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586076)

Unfortunately, due to a failure to perform a metric/imperial conversion, the mission failed when the probe performed a perfect soft landing on the moon's surface.

Re:Unfortunately (2, Funny)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586304)

Unfortunately, due to a failure to perform a metric/imperial conversion, the mission failed when the probe performed a perfect soft landing on the moon's surface.

Be even more embarrasing it it missed completly. Most ammusing though if it orbited the moon once and crashed back onto the launch pad...

Re:Unfortunately (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586474)

Even more embarrassing would be to fail so miserably that the probe landed on the sea and they spent a year reporting having found water and living organisms on the moon.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586670)

That would be preferable to missing entirely, slingshotting around and smacking into earth on the way back.

Bob.

Since a certain Mars mission has been mentioned (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586134)

may I suggest that NASA replace their somewhat embarrassing "Faster, better, cheaper" motto with "Closer, cheaper, deeper"?

Re:Since a certain Mars mission has been mentioned (4, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586248)

replace their somewhat embarrassing "Faster, better, cheaper" motto with "Closer, cheaper, deeper"?

That's even worse. It sounds like the tagline for a porn movie.

Gamma ray telescopes? Feh. (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586146)

If there's anything that would get the public interested in space, it would be something like this. Why aren't they soliciting the public to name THIS noble craft? But I shouldn't kid myself: to really capture general interest, it would be needed to launch many crafts to bore holes such that, viewed from Earth, a person's name were to be spelled out. "Come," we could shout, "be the person to be remembered forever as having put the first and surely forever largest man-made eyesore upon the moon!"

unmannedihope tag (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586162)

So, this spacecraft is going to be built by Apple? Funny name. I don't predict a good future for it.

In other news... (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586176)

NASA Plans to Smash Spacecraft into the Moon
Following NASA's new trend of sincerity, Burger King releases a new set of products under the name "Die fat bastard! Die" and NIKE presents the new AirSlave collection.

Not green (1)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586196)

The overall energy of the impact will ... kick up 1,102 tons of debris and dust.

...and suppose water is a limited resource, and they just blew away/polluted a significant proportion of that reserve?

Re:Not green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586540)

Why green? The moon is kind of a dull grey isn't it?
So wouldn't the Lunar equivalent term for environmentally friendly be "Grey"?

Re:Not green (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587088)

On the scale of moon size (or the size of the area), and for any 'reserve' amounts, 1102 tons means 'insignificant quantity far less than estimation error', not 'significant proportion'.

Re:Not green (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587510)

If this impact contaminates a significant proportion of the water reserves on the moon than they're not worth the trouble anyway. But in all reality that would be like me saying that if we did a test in Pittsburgh would it contaminate the waters in Dallas? It simply of such a small scale effect against such a massive landscape that it's pretty much unthinkable.

Smash a probe, been there, done that! (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586236)

Smash a probe, NASA's done it before. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/686674.stm [bbc.co.uk]

The disappearance of the Mars Polar Lander in December concluded a year of major failures for Nasa. The lander vanished less than three months after Nasa lost its sister spacecraft, the Mars Climate Orbiter, in highly-embarrassing circumstances. The $125m craft, which was to study the Red Planet's climate, went missing on 23 September after a mix-up between imperial and metric measurements

Re:Smash a probe, been there, done that! (4, Informative)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586274)

You may laugh, but NASA did do it before. During the final Apollo missions, they allowed the (abandoned) lunar module to crash into the moon in order to test seismic readings on the instruments left behind.

Re:Smash a probe, been there, done that! (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586620)

They also smashed the third stage of the Saturn V into the Moon for every Apollo after 13 IIRC, also as seismic probes. That had
considerably more kinetic energy than either the LEM upper stages or any of the recent impacts.

It wasn't just to test the seismometers, it was to map the interior of the Moon, once they found out that the Moon is seismically pretty quiet and doesn't have much in the way of Moonquakes. It was thus a very large scale example of the seismic prospecting that is done frequently in oil exploration.

NASA turns into drunken driver (1)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586328)

So we've gone from landing on the moon to crashing into it? Truly the mark of progress...

That spaceship is heading for that small moon.. (-1, Redundant)

SohCahToa (1038480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586350)

Thats no moon...its a space station

Re:That spaceship is heading for that small moon.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22587332)

can you please just stfu? that meme is so stinking old and used so frequently that it's lost all of it's true meaning. talk about beating a dead horse.

Poor moon (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586370)

More notably, it will impact with significantly greater force (100x, per the article) than previous Moon collisions
The moon cannot repel a force of that magnitude!

they are just doing their job as they know .. (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586420)

This will be very cheap research, they already had their extensive results of crashing stuff upon the moon.. ...so they'll hardly have to change any parameters for this mission!

If this was 1st of April (0, Flamebait)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586608)

I would have thought it was a (slightly tasteless) joke. This guy "Admiral Ackbar" sounds an awful lot like "Allahu Akbar", which some people, I imagine, might be shouting as they crash flying machines in to things.

Re:If this was 1st of April (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22587286)

Wow, I seriously hope that's a really poorly-executed joke.

After a few hundred "itsatrap" tags and you still don't know who Admiral Ackbar is?

Details of delivery system leaked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586636)

Pogo style [wulffmorgenthaler.com]

Damage Control? (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586954)

Well at least if NASA claim that they're going to smash it into the moon, and it actually lands, then they may just get some of their credibility back!

It's a new Olympic sport! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22587058)

The first country to hit bull's eye on Tycho's crater wins the giant teddy bear!!!

So what happens... (1)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587188)

...when the moon blows up? On a serious note, do we really know what we are doing here? Whose to say that our bomardment won't release rock and dust from the moon into space, where it becomes a threat to satellites. Or perhaps we could hit some sort of undiscovered fissure, driving a spike into a crack. Either way, this has the potential to do more damage than good.

Re:So what happens... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587416)

The distance from the moon to the earth is so astronomical (no pun intended) that this is a fairly mild concern. The real problem arises when debris is in orbit, otherwise it's just another shooting star. Kicking rock out with such force that it makes it to earth makes it unlikely that it could maintain an orbit. These kinds of collisions have been going on for eons and we're still not surrounded with rocks from the moon. The difference is that this one is man made.

And we know a ton about the moon's geography. The moon has no liquid core or even if it does there is no way that we're going to hit with enough force to cause a problem on the level of changing it's structure.

Heck, if we had that kind of power available to us near-earth asteroids would be an easy problem to solve.

I'D LIKE TO SEE... (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587294)

TWO BRICKS BEING SMASHED TOGETHER!

I'm sorry sir, but that's offtopic. Try Again, please.

I'D LIKE TO SEE... A ROCKET SMASHING INTO THE MOON!

That's more like it. And now for something completely different...

Oblig. West Wing Quotes (3, Funny)

787style (816008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587430)

Toby Ziegler: They know it was on course traveling at a rate of 15,400 miles per hour, which it was supposed to. Somewhere during its descent it was also supposed to release two probes - each about the size of a basketball - firing them deep into the ground as part of the mission's search for evidence of water under surface.

Josh Lyman: We think if we hit the ground hard enough, we can make it to the center of the planet and find water?

Toby Ziegler: Yeah.

Josh Lyman: That's not a theory of physics pretty much disproved by Wile E. Coyote?

God Bless America (1)

Tsoat (1221796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587520)

Nasa person number 1 "Hey I know the moon is kind of important for us but lets thrust stuff into it and see what happens" Everyone else "OK!"
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