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December 14 2012

Twin Grail probes readied for Monday's crash into moon


Two NASA moon probes will end their gravity-mapping mission in spectacular fashion on Monday, crashing intentionally into a cliff near the lunar north pole.

The twin Grail spacecraft, known as Ebb and Flow, will slam into the raised rim of a moon crater at 5:28 p.m. EST Monday, mission team members said Thursday. The probes will impact about 20 seconds apart, with each traveling at 3,760 mph (6,050 kph) or so.

The crash zone is far from any area where previous moon missions such as NASA's Apollo efforts touched down, so Grail's final moments won't endanger sites of historical importance, officials said.

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