Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SMART-1 ‘star tracker’ peeks at the approaching lunar surface

30.08.2006
While ESA's SMART-1 mission is running on its last orbits around the Moon before its planned lunar impact on 3 September 2006, the spacecraft 'star tracker' – or attitude camera - is taking exciting pictures of the ever approaching surface.

One week before the end of the SMART-1 mission, the SMART-1 Mission Control Team at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Germany are working together with the Danish Technical University (DTU), manufacturer of the star tracker, to demonstrate that this attitude camera is not only capable of determining the spacecraft attitude by looking at the stars, but can also be used for exciting peeks at the Moon. The DTU star tracker is a light-weight instrument, weighing only 3.2 kilogrammes including the baffles, and operates highly autonomously.


This image of the lunar surface was taken on 23 August at 12:42 CEST (10:42 UT), by the star tracker (attitude camera) on board ESA’s SMART-1, from a distance of 165 kilometres above the Moon surface. SMART-1 was travelling at a speed of 1.93 kilometres per second. The two craters visible on the image are 'satellite' craters to the Neumayer crater. Satellite craters are identified by the name of their parent crater and an additional letter. On the star tracker image the crater with the sharp rim is called Neumayer M (located at a latitude of 71.6° South, and a longitude of 78.5° East) and the one with the smooth rim is called Neumayer N (at a latitude of 70.4° South, and a longitude of 78.7° East). The image is slightly smeared as the spacecraft is moving at high speed and at low altitude. This image was taken as a test, which means the spacecraft pointing was not optimised for taking images with the star tracker. Credits: ESA

With only a few days to go, the flight control team is taking advantage of the star tracker being blinded by the moonlight to fuel the imagination and take images at close distance.

The first image was taken on 23 August at 12:42 CEST (10:42 UT), from 165 kilometres above the Moon surface, while SMART-1 was travelling at a speed of 1.93 kilometres per second. The two craters visible on the image are 'satellite' craters to the Neumayer crater. Satellite craters are identified by the name of their parent crater and an additional letter.

On the star tracker image the crater with the sharp rim is called Neumayer M (located at a latitude of 71.6° South, and a longitude of 78.5° East) and the one with the smooth rim is called Neumayer N (at a latitude of 70.4° South, and a longitude of 78.7° East). The image is slightly smeared as the spacecraft is moving at high speed and at low altitude. This image was taken as a test, which means the spacecraft pointing was not optimised for taking images with the star tracker.

Additional test images were taken by the star tracker on 25 August, from 165 and 59 kilometres altitude, respectively. The first image was taken while the spacecraft was moving at a speed of 2 kilometres per second, while the second image was taken when SMART-1 was travelling at 1.6 kilometres per second.

On Tuesday 29 August the spacecraft is in a favourable position to take the most exciting images so far. At that time the star tracker will have both the Earth and the Moon in its field of view, with the Earth about to disappear on the Moon's horizon.

To calibrate the star tracker and to ensure safe star tracker operation, the Flight Control Team at ESOC have taken test images with new star tracker settings provided by DTU. The resulting images already show a breath-taking view of the Moon.

"The star tracker provided its first images of the Milky Way a few days after SMART-1 was 'born' in space", says SMART-1 Project scientist Bernard Foing, "and it is also witnessing the last moments from the vehicle as if we were on board."

Bernard Foing | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/SEMPFY5LARE_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

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: 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...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

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

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>