SMART-1 Lunar Probe Impact


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 4, 2003

The final days of SMART-1's spectacularly successful mission have seen intense activity including a successful recovery from safe mode as mission controllers manoeuvre the craft into a planned Moon crash landing, newly estimated for 07:42 CEST (05:42 UT) Sunday, 3 September.

A tense, 6-hour recovery from an unexpected safe mode activation, one of the quickest in recent ESA spacecraft operations memory, allowed manoeuvres to proceed nominally during the night of 1-2 September aimed at avoiding a premature Moon impact.

Earlier this week, and based on estimates including local area topography, impact was due to occur during orbit 2890, on 3 September, 2006, at 07:41 CEST (05:41:51 UT), at a spot located at mid-southern latitudes on the lunar near-side. This region belongs to the so-called 'Lake of Excellence'.

Of the possible impact times and locations, this spot was chosen to favour the ground observation campaign and optimise potential science returns.

However, the latest estimates of the elevation of the surrounding Moon terrain indicated that, in the absence of any further manoeuvres, impact would very likely occur one orbit earlier, at 02:38 CEST (00:38 UT) during orbit 2889, with SMART-1 possibly clipping the rim of a medium-sized crater, Clausius a crater jutting some 1600 metres up and located at 43.5º West and 36.5º South.


macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2002
Meat Space
Thanks for the links. I'm happy to have this information, especially since the media seems to be ignoring this story (probably because it involves a foreign rocket, as if this makes it any less scientifically significant).


macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2006
Portsmouth, U.K
wouldn't it have been better to aim it at the edge of the moon (from our point of view) to get a good image of the dust plume? nice image of the explosion posted on though.