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An artist's concept of NASA's LADEE orbiting the moon.

An artist's concept of NASA's LADEE orbiting the moon.

NASA Ames/Dana Berry

NASA Purposely Crashes Spacecraft Into Moon

A space probe known as LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, is no longer with us. This week, NASA engineers said their goodbyes as they purposefully crashed the spacecraft into the moon at nearly 5800 kilometers per hour, where it broke apart, burned, and may have even vaporized. Since its launch this past September, LADEE gathered detailed information about the structure and composition of the lunar atmosphere. Too low on fuel to perform a long-term orbit, engineers scuttled the probe to avoid the chance of it hitting historic sites on the moon like the Apollo landing area, Nature reports.

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