Err...anyone remember SMART-1 of 2006?
8. But won’t the impact of SMART-1 harm the Moon?
Nearly 50 years ago the Russian Luna-2 spacecraft was the first man-made object to hit the Moon. That was in 1959. Since then many other objects have
done the same, and SMART-1’s impact will be softer than that of any man-made impactor so far.
When it arrives at the Moon’s surface, SMART-1 will be travelling at 2 kilometres per second. That is much slower than a natural meteoroid - for
instance Leonid meteoroids arrive on the Moon at 70 kilometres per second, and note that their kinetic energy increases as the square of velocity! And
the spacecraft will go in at a glancing angle – like a ski jumper. If we were unlucky SMART-1 might hit a steep hill at 7000 kilometres per hour,
but what is more likely is that it will glide down over a flat part of the lunar surface, dropping 15 metres in the last kilometre of forward motion.
At impact, its vertical speed will be only 70 kilometres per hour, which is less than some ski jumpers achieve.
Possibly SMART-1 will skid for a short distance after impact, throwing up dust ahead of it and spraying dust out on either side like the wings of a
butterfly. The crater made by SMART-1 will be 3 to 10 metres wide and perhaps a metre deep. To put that in perspective, the Moon already has 100 000
craters that are more than 4 kilometres wide and every day several small meteoroids make craters as big as SMART-1’s. So you would not notice much
International rules protect other planets and their moons from possible contamination by spacecraft. The safety of any alien life, if it exists, is
the main concern. ESA takes its legal responsibilities very seriously, and follows all current planetary protection rules, as established by the
Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).
end of quote....
so, we have a fairly light lump of metal going slowly and you get pictures like...
these pictures from esa
and as SMART-1 was the precursor for LCROSS and was where the modelling came from, the only possible explanation is that Nasa can't hit a barn door,
PS...lovin' the bit about aliens in the quote
Oh and the images were taken from the Earth and not from a spacecraft following!
[edit on 24-10-2009 by nomadros]