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Going for Broke: 5 Experiments That Went Out in a Blaze of Glory

Scientists have used the last moments of major experiments or spacecraft to make a push for knowledge--or to produce some fireworks

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MOON MISSILE:

The first man-made object to reach the lunar surface did not go down gently. The Soviet Luna 2 probe was intentionally plowed into the moon in 1959, achieving the first lunar landing—albeit a hard one.....[ More ]

TAKING THE PLUNGE:

After nearly eight years spent exploring Jupiter and its moons, NASA's Galileo spacecraft did not ease into peaceful retirement. Instead, in September 2003, as its fuel tank was running dry, the craft was sent hurtling into Jupiter's crushing atmosphere at 48.2 kilometers per second (more than 100,000 miles per hour) and surely disintegrated.....[ More ]

HIGGS HUNTING:

Space missions are not the only ones to go for broke. The Large Electron–Positron (LEP) collider at CERN in Europe did not find the elusive Higgs boson—that challenge has fallen to its successor, the Large Hadron Collider.....[ More ]

SHORT-LIVED SATELLITE:

NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) began and ended its mission in 2009. LCROSS's charge was to find out whether craters near the moon's poles contain water ice—and if so, how much.....[ More ]

TILTING AT VENUS:

NASA's Magellan probe orbited Venus from 1990 to 1994 and produced detailed radar and topographic maps of 98 percent of its surface. But there was one thing it couldn’t measure: atmospheric properties.....[ More ]

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