Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lunar Mini-camera Tells The Moon To Say "Cheese"

Date:
November 16, 2004
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Since its Ariane launch from Kourou in September 2003, the small but remarkable SMART-1 satellite has been silently spiralling its way to the Moon. As from mid November, it will be captured by the lunar gravity. Next January it will reach its final orbit and start science observations.

The AMIE camera on board ESA's SMART-1 acquired its first image of a crescent moon on 18 January 2004. On 29 January, between 2000 and 2119 UT, images of the first quarter Moon were taken through several filters.
Credit: ESA

Since its Ariane launch from Kourou in September 2003, the small but remarkable SMART-1 satellite has been silently spiralling its way to the Moon. As from mid November, it will be captured by the lunar gravity. Next January it will reach its final orbit and start science observations. SMART-1 is a technology demonstrator into which the European Space Agency has packed many innovative space techniques to be used on future interplanetary missions. Above all, it has validated a solar-powered ion engine as the main propulsion system, used for the first time on a European science satellite.

Compactness and miniaturisation are key features of SMART-1 and its science instruments. EuroNews 'Space' magazine has met two of the Swiss astronomers behind its miniature lunar colour camera called AMIE.

"Our team is extremely motivated and flexible," explains designer Jean-Luc Josset, Director of the Space-X Space Exploration Institute in Neuchβtel. "We rose to the challenges of providing a light-weight unit for a very small satellite. In just five years, we packed it all into only 500 grams, and now we are able to take unique pictures of the Moon."

In its final operational orbit, SMART-1 will be circling between 3,000 and 300 kilometres over the Moon's poles. AMIE will be able to map a 2,000 km large impact basin on the far side of the Moon, created by a giant bombardment 4 billion years ago. It will also look at polar craters whose bottom is never reached by sunlight.

Other SMART-1 science instruments will also contribute to a first comprehensive survey of key chemical elements on the lunar surface. " With AMIE we hope to map inside permanently shadowed areas. The SIR spectrometer will be obtaining the surface composition," explains Bernard Foing, ESA's SMART-1 project scientist. "The mission may be able to confirm the presence of permanent ice which may have been brought by meteorites before being trapped in the coldest areas."

The AMIE camera has already demonstrated its qualities during the journey to the Moon. It has looked back and taken vivid pictures of mother Earth. It also observed from space the total lunar eclipse on 28 October.

"We were in a strategic position when we obtained these views of the unlit Moon," recalls Stιphane Beauvivre of the Space-X Institute. "SMART-1 was then 300,000 km from our planet, between the Sun and the Earth, and our Moon was even farther at more than 600,000 km. The eclipse was followed this way for the very first time. We were overjoyed seeing the entire planet and to follow the Moon passing into the Earth's shadow and being totally occulted."

In a few weeks time, the AMIE camera will be opening more new ground, snapping the Moon in colour at close quarters and from a variety of viewing angles. Scientists will be getting unique data that will help them better understand its composition and how it was formed. One thing is sure: the Moon will have to smile for the AMIE camera!


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Lunar Mini-camera Tells The Moon To Say "Cheese"." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041115000624.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2004, November 16). Lunar Mini-camera Tells The Moon To Say "Cheese". ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041115000624.htm
European Space Agency. "Lunar Mini-camera Tells The Moon To Say "Cheese"." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041115000624.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) — The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) — NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins