Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Now you can watch SMART-1 smash into the Moon.
The SMART-1 spacecraft has been quietly mapping the Moon in exquisit detail while at lot of attention has been focused on Mars. The mission got extended, but now SMART-1 is out of fuel and is spiraling down for an impact on the Moon.
And we might get to see it (the impact that is, well, those of us with telescopes). On September 3 0541 UT (that's 15:41 AEST, so us Aussies won't get to see it, see here for impact visibility) SMART-1 will impact the Lake Of Excellence. The impact will be on the dark side of the Moon, and there should be a brief flash of light (like the Lunar Meteor impacts seen in previous years). Instructions for training your telescope on the Moon can be found at this ESA site, or at this Lunar Impact Monitoring Site. Video briefings about the impact can be found here.