View Full Version : Discussion: SMART-1 Goes Into Lunar Orbit

2004-Nov-16, 05:55 PM
SUMMARY: The European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft is no longer orbiting the Earth... it's orbiting the Moon! The spacecraft has been slowly raising its orbit using its efficient ion engine, and yesterday it passed within 5,000 km (3,100 miles) of the Moon, using its gravity to shift the spacecraft's trajectory. Its engine will now fire for 4 days straight to complete the orbital maneuver. It will continue lowering its orbit around the Moon until mid-January, when it'll get as close as 300 km (186 miles) and begin a scientific study.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Nov-16, 06:04 PM
Very slow trip


What a great craft !!
I hope we have more space agency organisations going for new types of engines and more experimental designs. This space craft can appear weak with little thrust, but the ions give it almost infinite power and its fuel will just keep going and going. There is also a chance that we might be able to look into dark craters and unknown regions, the craft also has some very nice detection instruments
maybe one of these places will be a nice future lunar colony.

2004-Nov-16, 06:13 PM
The New Scientist article about this pointed out that the craft hopes to observe "The Peak of Eternal Light", a place near the Lunar South pole that is always in sunlight, and is perhaps near deposits of water-ice. This is a location that some people think would be a good place for initial efforts to colonize the Moon.

Whether this is turn out to be a great place to colonize or not, the SMART 1 mission is a cool little testbed for brave new technology.

2004-Nov-16, 08:11 PM
The European Space Agency is to be congratulated for developing and demonstrating the utility of new technology for space travel.

With kind regards,


2004-Nov-16, 09:07 PM
Can anybody tell me the inclination to the axis for the moon?? Reply at altairincus@yahoo.com

2004-Nov-16, 10:41 PM
It should give us some interesting information. :)

2004-Nov-17, 08:21 PM
That was a great piece of news & especially encouraging to ESA after what happened to Beagle2 last December. :) It also coincides with the first man in Space anniversary! A great day for ESA! Congratulations to all involved in the Smart-1 programme! :)

Now this technology has proved itself perhaps we will see more probes powered in a similar way thus making space travel cheaper & making way for more instrument packages which will give much greater returns for every $ invested.

2004-Nov-18, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by Guest@Nov 16 2004, 09:07 PM
Can anybody tell me the inclination to the axis for the moon?? Reply at altairincus@yahoo.com
INCLINATION - Varies about 5 degrees 8' 43" (5.145 degrees) from Ecliptic. Average Orbit Inclination - To Ecliptic: 5d 8' 43". Rotational Axis Inclination of Moon - to Orbit: 1d 0' 30"s and it's Mean Sidereal Period: 27d, 7h, 43m = 27.3217 days

2005-Jan-19, 03:55 PM
Status Arrived in lunar orbit

http://smart.esa.int/science-e-media/img/1...-291204-410.jpg (http://smart.esa.int/science-e-media/img/18/AMIE-mosaic-291204-410.jpg)

images taken by AMIE during the 1000-5000 km orbit on 29 December 2004