The final stage of the LCROSS mission has been identified. LCROSS is a mission that plans to end with a bang. It carries with it the upper stage of the rocket that launched it. The intention is to send the rocket on ahead to collide with the lunar surface. Not just any lunar surface though, this has to be a well chosen crater floor. One that lies in perpetual darkness and may just have water ice frozen inside it. When the rocket hits, the plume of material sent up will be directly sampled by LCROSS itself, which will be on the same collision course, but slightly delayed.
The decision over which crater in the southern lunar region will be best to collide with (including factors such as can LCROSS get there, will be plume be visible from Earth – NASA wants amateurs and professionals to image it) has been made. The crater is Cabeus A and the time of impact will be 7:30am EDT on October 9th – 12:30am BST, not good for UK based observers… Below is the mission briefing from NASA’s Youtube Channel: