Tuesday, November 16, 2004


The BBC is reporting that the ESA SMART-1 probe has sucessfully completed it's first lunar orbit. The probe's experimental ion engine will run almost continuously during the next four days to stabilse its orbit, allowing the probe to commence it observations sometime in mid-January.

CREDIT: ESA/Space-X, Space Exploration Institute
The Moon as seen by SMART-1 on 12 November, at a distance of about 60 000 kilometres. The slightly illuminated part at the top of the Moon shows a 'slice' of the Moon far side at about the latitude of the lunar north pole. The far side is seen for the first time by a European spacecraft, and ESA is only the third organisation to do so in the history of lunar exploration. This image is the last shot that the AMIE camera could take before SMART-1 prepared for the burn that will stabilise the spacecraft in lunar orbit.