Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SMART-1 – All Set to Fly to the Moon

18.08.2003


Europe is going to the Moon for the first time! In just over two weeks the European Space Agency’s (ESA) lunar probe, SMART-1, begins its journey to the Moon. Due to be launched from Kourou in French Guiana on 3rd September (12.04 a.m. 4th September BST) SMART-1 will be powered only by an ion engine which Europe will be testing for the first time as the main spacecraft propulsion. Onboard will be D-CIXS, an X-ray spectrometer built by scientists in the UK, which will provide information on what the Moon is made of.

SMART-1 represents a new breed of spacecraft. It is ESA’s first Small Mission for Advanced Research in Technology – designed to demonstrate innovative and key technologies for future deep space science missions. As well as the ion propulsion mechanism SMART-1 will test miniaturised spacecraft equipment and instruments, a navigation system which in the long term will allow spacecraft to autonomously navigate through the solar system, and a space communication technique whereby SMART-1 will establish a link with the Earth using a laser beam.

Once it has arrived at the Moon (expected to be in January 2005), SMART-1 will perform an unprecedented scientific study of the Moon– providing valuable information which will shed light on some of the unanswered questions. The spacecraft will search for signs of water-ice in craters near the Moon’s poles, provide data on the still uncertain origin of the Moon and reconstruct its evolution by mapping and the surface distribution of minerals and key chemical elements.



Commenting on the mission Prof. Ian Halliday, Chief Executive of PPARC said," This mission to our only natural satellite is a masterpiece of miniaturisation and UK scientists have played a leading role in providing one of the spacecraft’s key instruments - testament to the UK’’s expertise in space science.” Halliday added, "SMART-1 is packed with innovative technology that promises to revolutionise our future exploration of neighbouring planets whilst answering some fundamental questions about the Moon - how did the Moon form and how did it evolve?"

UK scientists have a lead role in the mission. D-CIXS, a compact X-ray Spectrometer, which will make the first ever global X-ray map of the Moon’s surface, has been built by a team led by Principal Investigator Professor Manuel Grande from the CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Scientists from a number of other UK institutions are involved in D-CIXS (see notes to editors for further details).

Professor Grande explains how D-CIXS works,

“When the Sun shines on the Moon, its surface fluoresces and D-CIXS will measure the resulting X-rays to determine many of the elements found on its surface. This will provide us with vital clues which will help understand the origins of our Moon.”

Weighing just 4.5 kilograms and the size of a toaster, one of the challenges for the D-CIXS team has been to fit all the necessary components into the instrument. This has been achieved through clever miniaturisation and the development of new technology such as novel X-ray detectors – based on new swept charge devices (similar to the established charged couple devices found in much of today’s technology) and microfabricated collimators with walls no thicker than a human hair.

Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science and Innovation at the Department of Trade and Industry said:
"SMART-1 is an unprecedented opportunity to provide the most comprehensive study ever of the surface of the Moon. The UK is playing a key role in this important European mission by providing technology that demonstrates excellent collaboration between engineering and science in this country. This mission will also give the European Space Agency the opportunity to develop new technology for future missions, demonstrating once again the effectiveness of joint working between the UK and our European partners in space."

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier
29.05.2017 | University of Strathclyde

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>