Saturday, September 02, 2006

Smart Crash

The ESA satellite Smart-1 will end his life this evening, September 2nd at 10:43 p.m. PDT (5:43 GMT). It is scheduled to crash into the the Lake of Excellence (Lacus Excellentiae) in the Moon's southern hemisphere, with an impact speed of about 7,200 km/h (4,500 mph). Thereby it is still contributing to science by blowing up stuff from the moon's surface.

For observation details look up

You find more information at NASA, BBC, Universetoday, Sciencedaily, Spacedaily, and while we're at it, make sure you get your Milkywaydaily.

What a way to end a life! For once, George W should be glad to hear that the Lake of Excellence is not located in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
TAGS: , ,


  1. "A Mars a day
    helps you work rest and play"

    Just love your milkyway link
    I'm a milkybar kid myself. lol!

    You obviously having fun.
    Gotta laugh, gotta live!!

    Somebody should explain to George Bush, that just as much energy funds resources & people can be employed into crashing satellites into the lake of excellence as destroying countries.
    The difference is no one gets hurt, and no cosmic karma bringing hurricane proportion chaotic disasters to New Orleans, Florida, baja California or New York

  2. I have to confess, after reading several articles, I still don't understand why they're running SMART-1 into the moon.

    Was that just the orbit it happened to end up in? Is it to keep it from being space junk? Or is there some kind of data that will be revealed from the debris?

  3. Dear Bee,

    thanks for pointing this out :-)
    Here in Germany, sky was completely overcast this morning, so even if the moon had been visible, there was no chance of spotting the impact.

    Was there anything visible from Earth? Are there any photos of the impact around?


    on the ESA-Smart FAQ page, they state that

    the Sun-Earth-Moon perturbations ... make[s] the SMART-1 orbit perilune (point of closest approach to the lunar surface) naturally drift down about one kilometre per orbit.

    and that due to these perturbations, no stable orbit around moon would have been possible for SMART-1, so they obviously tried to manage a controlled impact.

    I admit I am surprised that stable orbits around moon seem to be quite complicated things. The Clementine spacecraft somehow left again its lunar orbit and was brought back to Earth, but SMART-1 was not designed to have enough fuel to do so...

    Best, stefan

  4. Stefan,

    Might they have just let it crash naturally? I read that the time of impact was ambiguous, with three possibilities, because they couldn't be completely sure if it would hit a particular mountain or go around for another pass or two (due to insufficiently accurate lunar mapping). Also the impact angle is 1 degree. Both these facts are consistent with just letting the orbit degrade naturally in the manner you quote from the website.


COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ARE PERMANENTLY CLOSED. You can join the discussion on Patreon.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.