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ESA Newshttp://www.esa.int4 September 2006SMART-1 swan song: valuable data until final momentsRight up to its final orbits, SMART-1 continued delivering valuable data,extending the mission's legacy as a technology and scientific success.Scientists and engineers met today at ESOC to review mission achievementsincluding final AMIE camera images.At a press event held today at ESA's Spacecraft Operations Centre (ESOC),SMART-1 engineers, operations experts and scientists are presenting data andpreliminary results obtained by the spacecraft prior to its impact on theMoon at 07:42 CEST [05:42 UT], 3 September 2006.Perhaps the most sentimental image sequence was taken by AMIE just four daysbefore impact, on 29 August at 21:00 CEST (19:00 UT), when the camera waspointed back towards the Earth to capture, in the best tradition of manyprevious lunar missions, a view of our home planet. The sequence of imagesis centred over Brazil at approximately 44.9 deg West and 19.2 deg South(North is to the left). The Kourou area in French Guiana, from where SMART-1was launched in 2003, is also visible.Remarkably, this movie sequence shows the Moon passing in front of theEarth, beautifully underlining the close gravitational relationship betweenthe Earth and its natural satellite.Final orbits offered new imaging opportunities During SMART-1's final orbits on 1 and 2 September, the spacecraft waspassing at extremely low altitude over the Moon's surface, which was indarkness, prompting scientists to take advantage of this uniqueobservational situation by pointing the AMIE camera laterally toward theMoon's limb (horizon). The camera gathered images of the thin dust envelopesurrounding the Moon, which will be analysed by scientists in the future.As a result, the best final images from AMIE were taken on 2 September;seven of these were posted on the ESA Portal on 3 September and, togetherwith additional images from the set, these have been combined into a pair ofmovie sequences.The images were taken between 15:19-17:34 CEST (17:19-19:34 UT). Thesequences show the surface of the Moon passing under SMART-1 during thefinal orbits and show what a passenger on board the spacecraft would haveseen shortly before impact and destruction.AMIE mosaic of geologically important southern region Other SMART-1 results presented today include a mosaic of AMIE nadir(vertical pointing) images showing a 400-km-long area inside the Moon SouthPole-Aitken Basin (SPA), the largest and oldest known impact crater basin inthe solar system and the deepest depression in the Moon.The basin is 2600 km in diameter and extends from the South Pole to theAitken Crater, located at 173.4 deg East and 16.8 deg South.AMIE was able to image the area under ideal illumination conditions, whichwill afford scientists an opportunity to compare AMIE images with existingdata of the same area gathered by previous lunar missions."These images can help us understand the surface morphology, formation andevolution of the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This type of nadir observationprovides the geological context of the area, and will help further extendour knowledge of the Moon's geology," said Jean-Luc Josset, AMIE PrincipalInvestigator, SPACE-X (Space Exploration Institute), Neuchatel, Switzerland.In fact, scientists intend to compare the AMIE visible images of the SouthPole-Aitken Basin morphology to those previously captured by the camerausing the 'push-broom', three-colour filter mode. The push-broom images giveinformation on the Moon's surface composition and mineralogy, and acomparison between the two sets is expected to increase understanding of theMoon's overall surface composition.Illumination conditions at North Pole Another AMIE mosaic presented today shows the Moon's North polar area andwas taken during first phase of the SMART-1 mission in 2005.This mosaic is valuable as it shows illumination conditions at the region.It is important to understand global illumination conditions, as this willhelp in planning the location of future landing sites and, later, possiblebases on the Moon.Successful AMIE performanceThe image sets shown today illustrate the successful technology andtremendous results of the AMIE (Advanced Moon micro-Imager Experiment)camera throughout SMART-1's 36-month mission.Originally designed to capture just four images per orbit, AMIE exceeded allexpectations and actually averaged 100 images per rotation, generating afinal library of some 20 000 images.Following the early decision to redesign the science orbit and lower theapolune (point of highest approach) from 10 000 to 3000 km over the lunarNorth pole, AMIE was able to adjust to the large number of imaging commandsand complex operations that were introduced."This decision allowed AMIE not only to take sharp images of the South Poleas planned, but also to study the northern hemisphere from a much shorterrange than initially foreseen," said Josset. "We now have an image librarythat will keep scientists and researchers busy for the next months andyears," he added.Additional lunar composition findings Scientists used today's press event to highlight findings from spectroscopicstudies conducted by SMART-1's D-CIXS (Demonstration of a Compact ImagingX-ray Spectrometer) instrument, and show new surface composition data ofselected regions.The volume of data generated during the mission is expected to keepscientists busy for some time. Among the remarkable results alreadydetermined was the first-ever remote detection of all the main elementswhich make up lunar minerals. This includes, for the first time, calcium."SMART-1 data have opened a new era in remote sensing investigation ofEarth's nearest neighbour. A great deal is still to be learned from analysisof these data, while we already look forward to flying instruments similarto D-CIXS on the upcoming Chandrayan lunar probe (India)," said ManuelGrande, D-CIXS Principal Investigator, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK.Ground observations at impact Furthermore, scientists worldwide are analysing data gathered from theground observation campaign including the impact flash to eventually obtainfresh information on impact physics, lunar surface science and spacecraftbehaviour during impact, all expected to be useful for future lunarmissions.SMART-1 legacy "By proving solar-propulsion and employing other technology includinginnovative ground control systems while gathering fantastic new data,SMART-1 has left a legacy of technology and scientific excellence," saidBernard Foing, ESA's SMART-1 Mission Scientist.He added: "It will survive by continuing to contribute to our collectiveknowledge of Earth's nearest neighbour for many years, and it is onlyfitting that SMART-1 has found its final resting place on the Moon."The presentations and an audio recording from today's press event can bedownloaded as PDF files from the links below.For more information:Bernard Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project ScientistEmail: bernard.foing @ esa.intJean-Luc Josset, AMIE Principal InvestigatorSpace-X (Space Exploration Institute), Neuchatel, SwitzerlandEmail: jean-luc.josset @ space-x.chManuel Grande, D-CIXS Principal InvestigatorUniversity of Wales, Aberystwyth, United KingdomEmail: mng @ aber.ac.uk[NOTE: Images supporting this release are available athttp://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMC378ZMRE_index_1.html ] More about ...* Looking at the Moon http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/index.htmlRelated news* ESA's Moon mission ends successfully http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMBY5BVLRE_index_0.html* Impact landing ends SMART-1 mission to the Moon http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM7A76LARE_index_0.html* SMART-1 star tracker views the Moon in earthshine http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/SEMMK6BVLRE_0.html* Intense final hours for SMART-1 http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMV386LARE_index_0.html* Amateur observers prepare to watch SMART-1 impact http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMME86LARE_index_0.html* SMART-1 maps its own impact site http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/SEM1946LARE_0.html* Ion engine gets SMART-1 to the Moon http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/SEMLZ36LARE_0.htmlSMART-1 impact FAQ* SMART-1 Impact Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SMART-1/SEMWSW5LARE_0.htmlRelated links* Space-X http://www.space-x.ch/* Advanced Moon micro-Imager Experiment (AMIE) http://www.space-x.ch/Amie.htm* Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (JIVE) http://www.jive.nl/* Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/Download presentations* Operations http://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/smart-1/01_SMART-1_Operations.pdf* Technology http://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/smart-1/02_SMART-1_Technology.pdf* Science Objectives Summaryhttp://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/smart-1/03_SMART-1_Science-Objectives_Summary.pdf* AMIE Camera Resultshttp://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/smart-1/04_SMART-1_AMIE-Camera-Results.pdf* D-CIXS Spectrometer Resultshttp://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/smart-1/05_SMART-1_D-CIXS-Spectrometer-Results.pdf* Ground Observationshttp://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/smart-1/06_SMART-1_Ground-Observations.pdfDownload audio* Press event audio (MP3, 43.6 MB)http://a1862.g.akamai.net/7/1862/14448/v1/esa.download.akamai.com/13452/smart-1_moon_impact_press_conf.mp3