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Today's Moon


Missions to Moon - SMART-1

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SMART-1 | image: http://sse.jpl.nasa.gov

Country : European union
Research Org : European Space Agency (ESA)
Mission launch : Launched 27 September 2003


Testing solar-electric propulsion and other deep-space technologies, and making lunar scientific investigations

Name SMART stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology.

Description SMART-1 is the first of ESA�s Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology. It travelled to the Moon using solar-electric propulsion and carrying a battery of miniaturised instruments. As well as testing new technology, SMART-1 did the first comprehensive inventory of key chemical elements in the lunar surface. It also investigated the theory that the Moon was formed following the violent collision of a smaller planet with Earth, four and a half thousand million years ago.

Arrived in lunar orbit, 15 November 2004. After having conducted lunar orbit science operations, its mission ended through lunar impact on 3 September 2006.

Notes SMART-1 was the first European spacecraft to travel to and orbit around the Moon.

This was only the second time that ion propulsion has been used as a mission's primary propulsion system (the first was NASA's Deep Space 1 probe launched in October 1998).

SMART-1 looked for water (in the form of ice) on the Moon.

To save precious xenon fuel, SMART-1 used 'celestial mechanics', that is, techniques such as making use of 'lunar resonances' and fly-bys.



Last Updated ( Friday, 11 September 2009 07:34 )