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The Peak of Eternal Light

The first public showing of 'The Peak of Eternal Light', a new movie created using images taken by ESA's SMART-1 lunar orbiter, took place on July 2009 at the Ars Electronica Center (AEC), Linz, Austria. This movie was shown as part of a special event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, during this International Year of Astronomy.



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Anniversary of the SMART-1 launch on September 27, 2003

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Anniversary of the SMART-1, lunar impact in 2006

SMART-1 Movie #2 Captured Prior to Impact (2006.09.03)



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The SMART-1 satellite was launched on September 27, 2003 at 23:14 UTC from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.
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SMART-1 impacted the Moon's surface as planned, on September 3, 2006 at 05:42:22 UTC, ending its mission. Moving at approximately 2,000 m/s (4,500 mph), SMART-1 created an impact visible with ground telescopes from Earth. It is hoped that not only will this provide some data simulating a meteor impact, but also that it might expose materials in the ground, like water ice, to spectroscopic analysis.
ESA estimated that impact occurred at 34°24'S 46°12'W.

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lunarPole6

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A new map obtained with SMART-1 data shows the geography and illumination of the lunar north pole. Such maps will be of great use for future lunar explorers.
The lunar poles are very interesting for future science and exploration of the Moon mainly because of their exposure to sunlight. They display areas of quasi-eternal light, have a stable thermal environment and are close to dark areas that could host water ice potential future lunar base sites.
The SMART-1 north pole map, covering an area of about 800 by 600 km, shows geographical locations of some craters of interest. Peary is a large impact crater closest to the north pole. At this latitude the interior of the crater receives little sunlight, but SMART-1 was able to observe it during phases when the crater floor was sufficiently illuminated for imaging.

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A year ago, as Europe reached the Moon for the first time, scientists on Earth eagerly watched SMART-1s spectacular impact. New results from the impact analysis and from the instruments still keep coming.
One year on, we present ongoing scientific highlights of the mission. The analysis of data and simulations of the satellites impact provide clues on the dynamics of the ejecta after the flash, along with laboratory experiments or modelling of impacts. The experience gained is being put to good use in preparation for future missions.

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Owing to SMART-1s high resolution and favourable illumination conditions during the satellites scientific operations, data from Europes lunar orbiter is helping put together a story linking geological and volcanic activity on the Moon.
 The combination of high-resolution data from SMART-1s AMIE micro-camera and data from the US Clementine mission is helping scientists determine the tectonics of the Moons giant basins and the history of volcanic flooding of mid-sized craters, inside and around the lunar basins.

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Ariane-5 Smart-1 Orbiter launch
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Plaskett crater
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SMART-1 has investigated lunar areas at the edge of Luna Incognita. This area near the lunar poles can be used for lunar science studies, or even to prepare for human bases on the Moon and on Mars.
 Mankind did not see the land called Luna Incognita, until the first probes sent images of the lunar farside.  
Plaskett crater sits close to the Moon's north pole, on the edge of Luna Incognita. Plaskett has a diameter of 109 kilometres and displays a central peak. This peak was formed during the crater's formation and is composed of rocks, originally from beneath the Moon's surface, which were melted and thrown up by the impact. As they rose above the surface they 'froze' and formed the peak. By analysing such central peaks, planetary scientists can deduce the vertical composition of the Moon’s subsurface regions.
Plaskett crater could play a key role in preparing humans for their eventual journeys to Mars. On such a mission, Earth would dwindle to a point and the astronauts would lose the familiar view of their home planet. From the lunar near side the Earth is a brilliant object, four times wider than the full Moon seen from Earth. The Earth seems to wobble in the sky due to a lunar motion called libration. From the lunar poles libration takes the Earth below the horizon for about half the month.

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