Indian scientists say they meant to do that and hope for a future "soft" landing

Going to the moon is old news to most Americans after we sent a manned mission to Earth's satellite in the 1960's. Since then, several other countries have sent unmanned missions to the moon to study the satellite, but no one has yet replicated America's manned landing.

India has now joined the small cadre of nations to send unmanned missions to the moon including the U.S., China, Russia, ESA, and Japan. India launched its moon mission in October sending its spacecraft called Chandrayaan-1 towards the moon with a lunar probe onboard.

The probe was sent hurtling towards the surface of the moon to an eventual crash landing in the Shackleton crater on the moon's south pole. The lander was emblazoned with the Indian flag and hit the surface of the moon moving at about 3,100 miles per hour.

Indian scientists say that the crash was planned and that they will use the data collected by the probe during its descent to plan a future soft landing on the moon. The descent to the surface took 25-minutes according to Instruments on the probe included a video imaging system, radar altimeter and a mass spectrometer.

The video system took pictures of the moon during the decent while the altimeter measured the rate of decent and the mass spectrometer studied the thin atmosphere on the moon. India released some raw images taken and said that it had not yet begun to analyze the data returned by the probe. India has plans to land a rover on the moon in 2011 and hopes to one day send a manned mission.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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