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ASK OCE — August 31, 2006 — Vol. 1, Issue 13

 

The European Space Agency’s SMART-1 spacecraft successfully completed its mission when it collided with the lunar surface as planned on September 3, 2006.

The SMART-1 impact took place on the near side of the moon. The time and location of the impact was planned to facilitate observations from telescopes on Earth.

The impact concluded a nearly two-year mission to explore the moon. SMART-1 (Small Mission for Advanced Research and Technology), the first European mission to the moon, was launched on September 27, 2003, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

The main mission objective of SMART-1 was the flight demonstration of solar electric propulsion for deep space missions. The technology demonstration was declared successfully concluded when SMART-1 reached the moon and was captured by the lunar gravity field in mid-November 2004.

SMART-1 started its scientific observations of the moon in March 2005. The instruments on board included a miniaturized imaging camera (AMIE), an X-ray telescope (D-CIXS) to identify the key chemical elements in the lunar surface, an infrared spectrometer (SIR) to chart the moon’s minerals, and an X-ray solar monitor (XSM) to complement the D-CIXS measurements and study solar variability.

SMART-1 weighed 366 kilograms and was roughly one cubic meter in size, excluding its 14-meter solar panels. It was developed by the Swedish Space Corporation.

Read more about SMART-1.

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