NASA’s Ebb spacecraft recorded an amazing flyover video of the moon’s far side before intentionally slamming into a lunar mountain on December 17, 2012. Before crash landing, the spacecraft captured the stunning final video on December 14, a final gasp of air before it ended its gravity-mapping mission.
The spacecraft eventually crashed near the moon’s north pole.
The footage that follows was taken just 6 miles above the lunar surface, and it was captured using the spacecrafts MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) camera.
After flying closely over the far side’s northern hemisphere, the spacecraft crashed near the crater known as Jackson.
The crash landing ended the $496 million Grail mission. Grail stands for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory. The spacecraft was launched in September 2011 and arrived in lunar orbit three months later. The Ebb spacecraft was the size of a washing machine and spent one year flying around the moon as it measured the height and span of lunar moons, craters, and subsurface mass concentrations.
By collecting information for various types of lunar measurements, the Ebb spacecraft was able to create a very accurate map of the lunar gravity field.
NASA officials intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the surface of the moon as it began to run out of fuel. Officials made the decision one month ago.
About 2,400 individual frames were collected from the nearly two-minute video.