ESA successfully crashes probe into the Moon

Posted on Monday, September 04 2006 @ 0:29 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Europe's first spacecraft to the moon successfully crashed into a volcanic plain on Sunday:
Europe's first spacecraft to the moon smashed into a volcanic plain as planned Sunday, signaling in a bright flash the end of a successful mission to test a new propulsion system and navigation technology for flights to other planets.

Staff at the European Space Agency's control center clapped when the SMART-1 orbiter hit a lunar hillside at 4,475 mph, coming down in the target zone a day after a hurried course correction.

The deliberate crash capped a three-year mission that tested new technologies such as a low-thrust ion engine that ESA hopes will inexpensively take other probes to Mercury and other planets. It also tested new ways of automating a spacecraft's guidance.
More info at ABC News.

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