Images show puny plume from moon crash

Another moon mission suggests iron and mercury, not frozen water, were kicked up

5:12pm, October 16, 2009

The Centaur rocket that was deliberately crashed into one of the moon’s southern craters October 9 did in fact kick up a plume, even though the plume was not initially as large as hoped.

The relatively low velocity of the Centaur rocket generated a plume that was difficult to spot — in fact impossible to see by many ground-based telescopes — and smaller than had been predicted, suggests Randy Gladstone of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

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