The trouble with most of NASA’s cool space technology is that, after a few exciting minutes of fiery blast-off, it zips off into the vast emptiness of space where we can’t see it anymore. Out of sight, out of mind.
Tonight, however, NASA is letting us watch as they do something that should appease the destructive 13-year-old boy in all of us: they’re gonna smash a bunch of expensive stuff into the moon.
A pair of space probes named Ebb and Flow (how cute) have spent the past year or so precisely mapping the moon’s gravitational field — presumably to figure out where the golf ball hit by astronaut Alan Shepard in 1971 ended up.
Whatever their purpose, Ebb and Flow have now served it. So tonight, NASA will slam them both into the side of a crater near the lunar north pole. The event will be broadcast on NASA TV and streamed live on the space agency’s website, beginning at 5 p.m. EST.
It sounds like an awesome alternative to Monday Night Football (especially when you realize that tonight’s less-than-stellar match-up pits the 4-9 Tennessee Titans against the 6-7 New York Jets). That is, until you read the fine print. According to NASA officials, who should be reprimanded for getting our hopes up, the smashing of Ebb and Flow will happen in the dark, so we won’t be able to see anything.
There’s probably some valid reason to crash the probes in the dark, but we don’t want to hear it. We want to see stuff blow up. Thankfully, there’s this: