Five years ago today, the European Space Agency’s SMART-1 mission was launched to the moon. SMART was an acronym for “Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology,” and the spacecraft tested solar electric propulsion technology on its way to the Moon. According to the ESA fact sheet on SMART-1, the spacecraft entered lunar orbit on November 15, 2004 — for those who didn’t know, electric ion thrusters don’t make for a particularly speedy trip — and after a one-year extension the mission ended on 3 September 2006 with a planned lunar impact.
As well as testing new technology, SMART-1 did the first comprehensive inventory of key chemical elements in the lunar surface. It also investigated the theory that the Moon was formed following the violent collision of a smaller planet with Earth, four and a half thousand million years ago.
And hopefully, relying on some of the latest lunar science observations will help make my novel MARE NUBIUM a little more realistic. Time will tell.
Now, back to work on the thing 😉 .by