The mission of NASA's LADEE probe
was brought to an intentional violent end yesterday, when it smashed into the far side of the moon
. As the Ars Technica report explains,
"NASA's policy is to treat the locations of the Moon landings as historical sites, and it takes pains to preserve them from possible damage. LADEE didn't have the fuel to control its orbit indefinitely. As a result, the controllers had been preparing to terminate the probe for several weeks. ... The exact moment of impact isn't clear, since the precise terrain it hit couldn't be determined in advance. (If it hit a ridge, it would have happened earlier than if LADEE plowed across a plain. What is clear is that the impact destroyed the probe."
Before the end of LADEE's mission, besides close up observations, the craft was used to test a new laser-based communication system