11/12/1999

The European Space Agency’s SMART-1

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:09 am

The European Space Agency’s SMART-1 mission to the moon has been given the final go-ahead. Powered by an ion-drive, this orbiter will beam X-Rays at the moon to determine the elemental content of the outer crust. Many scientists have complainied that this duplicates previous work and is a waste of money. The principal investigator may not have helped his case by saying “If the Moon is really made of green cheese, we’ll be the first to tell the world.” In my opinion, any space mission which gets involved with the public as this one apparantly has is a good one. In this case, even if the payload is a duplication of previous work, many new technologies will be tested that will directly apply to future missions to the outer planets, where some of the most exciting research is now being conducted.

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