View Full Version : SMART-1's Mission Extended a Year

2005-Sep-27, 03:09 PM
SUMMARY: ESA engineers have figured out how to extend the life of SMART-1's ion engine, giving the mission more time to orbit the Moon. The mission was originally supposed to end in May 2006, but by conserving fuel and changing the way it engine operates, the engineers have pushed its demise back to July 2006. SMART-1 is completely out of fuel now, though, and will coast until its decaying orbit smashes it into the Moon.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/smart1_mission_extended_again.html)
What do you think about this story? post your comments below.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Sep-28, 11:57 AM
It always saddens me when they treat space equipment like disposable lighters. Was this mission to map the moon? Visual images, sub surface?

2005-Sep-28, 03:10 PM
There's a brief writeup on the SMART-1 instrument suite here. (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/SEML9HXO4HD_0.html) But primarily it was a technology demonstration mission, not a science mission.

2005-Sep-28, 09:25 PM
It isn't at all clear to me why a spacecraft in lunar orbit would decay very quickly. Its not like there's much atmosphere there. I thought that the Clementine idea of aiming at a crater with the goal of making a splash visible from Earth was a really good hook. It beats getting swallowed whole by Jupiter. A predicted smash into a near side mountain might be instructive. Any ideas on if a mountain in daylight or darkness would be better?

Fred Dashevsky
2005-Sep-29, 01:39 PM
Would SMART-1 have a resolution abiltity sufficient enough to capture images of any "leftovers" from Apollo missions??

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Sep-29, 02:26 PM
Didn't Clementine reveal Apollo remnants? I know Hubble can't.

Nowhere Man
2005-Sep-29, 04:13 PM
It isn't at all clear to me why a spacecraft in lunar orbit would decay very quickly. Its not like there's much atmosphere there.
No atmosphere, but Luna's gravity field is "lumpy," if you will. There are mass concentrations (mascons) that affect the field, and a closely-orbiting object's orbit will eventually be distorted so that it crashes. The Apollo CSMs had to take this into account too, IIRC.


2005-Sep-30, 04:12 AM
The LRO (Lunar Reconissance Orbiter) set to arrive in orbit in 2008 by NASA will have a camera with good enough resolution to see Apollo equipment left behind. It is really a shame that certain people would need this kind of ironclad proof before they consider believing that one of the sentinel events of the 20th century (Apollo missions) actually happened. But I won't kid myself, since the truly diehard paranoid types will still argue that somehow the LROC's data has been doctored.

2005-Oct-02, 02:22 AM
That's why I think its reasonable to wait for a European, Chineese, or Indian lunar mission for independant verification. Even then, if you are really into the Conspiracy Theory, you could always claim that now the Indians are in on it...

There are still those pushing the Mars face. The Viking Mars face image at least looks like a face. The high res images have light from an different angle, and its hard to see how its the same object. I spent quite awhile at it before becoming convinced. I have excellent spatial memory. I can imagine that many will not be convinced.