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NASA

These are artist's conceptions of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and its Centaur rocket as they approached the Moon. In these illustrations, the Centaur rocket stage (white object) has separated from the “shepherding spacecraft” as each object neared impact with the Moon's South Pole on October 9, 2009.

The Centaur rocket crashed into the lunar surface first. The shepherding spacecraft descended through the material dislodged by the rocket's impact, and quickly gathered and transmitted data on it. The shepherding spacecraft then crashed into the Moon, as well.