SMART-1 mission extended
ESA’s SMART-1 mission was extended by one year, pushing back the mission end date from August 2005 to August 2006.
ESA’s Science Programme Committee endorsed unanimously the proposed one-year extension of SMART-1 on 10 February 2005. The extension by one year of the mission will provide opportunities to extend the global coverage, compared to the original six-month mission, and to map both southern and northern hemispheres at high resolution. The new orbit will also be more stable and require less fuel for maintenance.
The extension also gives the possibility to perform detailed studies of areas of interest by performing stereo measurements for deriving topography, multi-angle observations for studying the surface ’regolith’ texture, and mapping potential landing sites for future missions.
Implementation of this mission extension will be in two periods of six months that correspond to different orbital parameters and illumination conditions. During the first period, the southern survey study is to be completed and dedicated pointings made for multi-angle, stereo and polar illumination studies.
In the second period, high-resolution coverage of the Moon on the equator and part of the northern hemisphere will take place due to the favourable illumination conditions. High resolution follow-up observations of specific targets will also be made, as well as observations relevant for the preparation of future international lunar exploration missions.
Between 10 January and 9 February, SMART-1’s electric propulsion system (or ’ion engine’) was not active. This allowed mission controllers to accurately determine the amount of fuel remaining, as well as ensure accurate planning for a mission extension, and obtain reconnaissance data from an orbit at 1000-4500 kilometres above the lunar surface.
All the instruments have been performing well from this orbit. As the ion engine is now active again, SMART-1 will spiral down to arrive at the lunar science orbit by the end of February.
The cruise and lunar approach has permitted the demonstration of a number of technologies, such as spacecraft, navigation, operations and instruments, which will be useful for future missions. The SMART-1 mission has now fulfilled its primary objective – to demonstrate the viability of solar electric propulsion, or ’ion drives’.
Guido de Marchi | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...