SMART-1 maps its own impact site

Aug 31, 2006
SMART-1 maps its own impact site
Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)

This mosaic of images, obtained by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the SMART-1 landing site on the Moon.

AMIE obtained this sequence on 19 August 2006 from the relatively high distance of 1200 kilometres from the surface (far from the SMART-1 perilune, or point of closer approach), with a ground resolution of about 120 metres per pixel. The imaged area, located at mid-southern latitudes on the lunar near-side, belongs to the so-called 'Lake of Excellence'.

To take these images, SMART-1 had to be tilted by 20 degrees in order to obtain a large ground coverage and an image mosaic of several views, each covering an area about 60 kilometres per side.

SMART-1 will be flying from North to South, and it will impact the surface 46 seconds, or about 90 kilometres, before reaching its nominal perilune (situated South of the impact location). This is due to the last orbit and the topography of the impact area. According to calculations based on the available maps and topography, impact would take place at a descending angle of one degree on a relatively flat surface.

SMART-1's impact is currently expected on 3 September 2006 at 07:41 CEST (05:41:51 UT), in the point located at 46.2є West longitude and 33.3є South latitude.

At 02:37 CEST (00:37 UT), one orbit earlier, the spacecraft should be just flying at its perilune. By that time, it will be over crater Clausius (25 kilometres diameter and 2.5 kilometres depth), at about 800 metres above the Lake of Excellence volcanic plain. As observed from these SMART-1 images, the rim of crater Clausius (bottom right of the image) is quite low and eroded, and should possibly be below SMART-1 last perilune.

"If SMART-1 passes safely the rim of crater Clausius, the probe will go for its last lunar orbital tour until its foretold death," said Bernard Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project Scientist.

Source: ESA

Explore further: 'Habitable' planet GJ 581d previously dismissed as noise probably does exist

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, trick cable job

13 hours ago

(AP)—Spacewalking astronauts successfully completed a three-day cable job outside the International Space Station on Sunday, routing several-hundred feet of power and data lines for new crew capsules commissioned ...

IOC defends Rio legacy amid green protests

15 hours ago

Ecological protests on Saturday dogged the final day of an International Olympic Committee executive board meeting in Rio as green campaigners slated the choice of a nature reserve to hold the golf event ...

Recommended for you

How far back are we looking in time?

7 hours ago

The Universe is a magic time window, allowing us to peer into the past. The further out we look, the further back in time we see. Despite our brains telling us things we see happen at the instant we view ...

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

Mar 05, 2015

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European ...

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

Mar 05, 2015

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.