Sunday, September 03, 2006

SMART-1 Space Probe Slams into The Moon

SMART-1 impact flash seen by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) telescope.
Image source: European Space Agency

Leonard David writes on

A European lunar orbiter was purposely slammed into the Moon today.

The high-tech spacecraft—Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology—belongs to the European Space Agency (ESA), and is better known as SMART-1.

The controlled crash of the probe was staged to allow a ground-based network of astronomers to possibly examine material kicked up from the Moon by the impact, thereby squeezing additional science out of the mission.

Predicted effects from the high-speed crash ranged from a quick flash to a possible fireball if the spacecraft ricochets across the lunar surface due to leftover hydrazine fuel onboard SMART-1. Moments before impact, scientists did not know what to expect.

More here.

European Space Agency website.


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