mattnyc99 writes: We got first word of NASA's plan to crash a spacecraft into the moon in February, but the new issue of Popular Mechanics has an in-depth look at the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite and its low-cost, lightning-fast mission prep—even after delays have pushed it to late February or early March. Quoting: "Andrews had no budget for an expensive lander to seek water, and conditions in the eternally dark polar craters would kill rovers, with temperatures close to minus 300 F. Instead, Blue Ice and its partners at Northrop Grumman came up with a concept to bring the lunar floor out in the open.... Since engineering precision hardware would break the budget, the LCROSS team had to make existing components work together."
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