Aug
09
2006

Crashing into the moon

The impact site.: This artist's impression shows the location of the SMART-1 impact on the Moon surface, expected for 3 September 2006 at 05:41 UT, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 7 hours, due to the unknown lunar topography.  The impact site will be on the lunar area
The impact site.: This artist's impression shows the location of the SMART-1 impact on the Moon surface, expected for 3 September 2006 at 05:41 UT, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 7 hours, due to the unknown lunar topography. The impact site will be on the lunar area
The European Space Agency (ESA) is crashing another spacecraft into another object in space, and I just have to say I like their style! After intentionally crashing into a comet last year, the ESA plans to crash its lunar orbiter, SMART 1, into the moon on September 3, 2006. The best part is that they are coordinating the crash so that it will happen on the visual side of the moon so that it can be seen (using telescopes) from Earth. If all goes according to plan, the impact time will be good for big telescopes in Northwest America. But if the spacecraft hits a hill on earlier passes, the viewing location will change.

SMART-1 launched on September 27, 2003, and tested an array of new technologies, including the first use of an ion engine (solar electric propulsion) for interplanetary travels, deep-space communication methods for spacecraft, and techniques to achieve autonomous spacecraft navigation.

The spacecraft was only planned to operate for six months, but its mission was extended, and will now end on September 3 when it meets its demise on the surface of the moon.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

If Smart 1 comes in at a skimming angle of only one degree I would think that it would skip back out into space.

posted on Fri, 09/01/2006 - 4:25pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

The SMART-1 lunar probe crashed into the Moon right on cue on Sunday morning. Mission controllers at the ESA indicate that it had crashed close to the planned impact site on the “Lake of Excellence”. Great images can be found at the ESA site.

posted on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 9:52am

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