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SMART-1 Lunar Probe by Europe (ESA)

The SMART-1 probe, Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-1, was designed and built in Sweden, with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA), and launched in 2003. SMART-1 was small indeed, only about one meter in size. It was launched on the same rocket as two geostationary satellites so that is started in a high parking orbit. Only about 25% of its mass was propellant because it used a solar powered electric ion drive engine for propulsion.

After slowly spiraling up in Earth orbit, after about one year and two months, SMART-1 passed thru the L-1 Lagrangian Libration Point, which essentially put it into a high lunar orbit, though it was about a year and a half later before it attained its final working orbit of 3000 to 300 km above the Moon.

SMART-1 performed basic mineral spectroscopy of the Moon and mapping to about 80 meters resolution.

In 2006, almost exactly three years after the mission was launched, it was intentionally crashed onto the Moon, making Sweden the third country to have a probe make its presence on the Moon.

External links:

SMART-1 on Wikipedia > Lunar Resources (Mining The Moon) > Probes, History and Future > SMART 1 (Europe)

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
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  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

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