* Astronomy

Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: SMART-1


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Reiner Gamma Formation
Permalink  
 


The Reiner Gamma Formation, a totally flat area consisting of much brighter material than the surrounding dark 'mare', is centred on an area located at 57.8° West, 8.1° North, in the Oceanus Procellarum on the near (visible) side of the Moon, and has an extension of approximately 30 by 60 kilometres.


This 3D anaglyph image shows the Reiner Gamma Formation, in the Oceanus Procellarum on the near (visible) side of the Moon. The AMIE camera aboard the Smart 1 probe obtained the images on 14 January 2006, from a distance between 1599 and 1688 kilometres and with a ground resolution between 144 and 153 metres per pixel.
Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)


From early ground-based observations, this feature was initially misidentified as a crater. Only later detailed observations from orbit (such as those performed by USSR’s Zond-6, and NASA’s Lunar Orbiter, Apollo and Clementine missions) revealed its true nature: a very unusual morphology, consisting of swirl-like patterns that do not correspond to any topographic features.
Its main part consists of a bright pattern of elliptical shape, located to the west of Reiner crater. Bright elongated patches extend to the northeast in the Marius Hills region and small swirls extend to the southwest. The origin of the Reiner Gamma Formation and other swirls occurring on the lunar surface is still unclear.

Lunar swirls are associated with magnetic anomalies and some of these swirls – such as Mare Ingenii and Mare Marginis - are ‘antipodal’ to large impact structures (that is they are located right into opposite regions of the Moon globe).
So, it was suggested that the Reiner Gamma swirls correspond to magnetised materials in the crust or iron-rich ejecta materials able to deflect the solar wind (constant flow of charged particles coming from the Sun). This would prevent surface materials to undergo maturation processes, and so produce an optical anomaly.

However, Reiner Gamma Formation still stands as a particular case. In fact, the magnetic anomaly does not correlate with the scale of the lunar crust structure and large-scale anomalies seen on the far side. Furthermore, the anomaly is not associated with any obvious antipodal basin structure, and the surface material related to Reiner Gamma appears optically very immature (the age for its emplacement could be quite recent).
The analysis of NASA’s Clementine imaging data showed that the optical and spectroscopic properties of the local regolithic surface layer are close to those of immature mare crater-like soils. This is consistent with the properties of a shallow subsurface mare soil layer.

Considerations from works on impact cratering support the hypothesis that the uppermost part of the regolith could have been modified through an interaction with falling fragments of a low-density comet nucleus, previously broken by tidal forces and having ploughed the regolith.
Then, the magnetic anomaly would not be the result of an antipodal crustal field generated in the formation process of large impact basins. It would rather arise from local effects during the interaction between the lunar surface and cometary physical environment, with the possibility that the solar wind is locally deflected and contributes to the unusual optical properties.

So, the Reiner Gamma Formation could be an interesting site for future human exploration because of the radiation deflected from the surface. Further testing of this hypothesis requires access to the physical properties of the surface to constrain the mechanisms of formation of the lunar swirls. This is an ongoing task for the AMIE camera, aimed at studying regolith photometric properties.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Crater De Gasparis
Permalink  
 


This image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft, shows Crater De Gasparis on the Moon.

The AMIE camera obtained this image on 14 January 2006 from a distance of about 1090 kilometres with a ground resolution of approximately 100 metres per pixel.



Crater De Gasparis is located close to the Mare Humorum, at longitude 51.2° West and latitude 26.0° South, on the lower left quarter of the Moon’s Earth-facing side. It has a diameter of about 30 kilometres and can be seen with the naked eye from Earth.
The criss-cross patterns in it are called ‘rilles’ (these are features where the surface has sunk down to form a trench).
These rilles coincide with deep tectonic faults that have been active over a long period of lunar geological evolution. They are the result of stresses due to all the tidal forces and volcanic expansion over the lunar mantle during the last stages of lava flooding of Oceanus Procellarum.
The fact that the rilles cross the crater means that they formed after the crater. This is a good example for how geologists can determine the relative history of the Moon’s surface.
This crater is named after the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis (1819-1892). De Gasparis was director of the observatory in Naples, Italy.

Source

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Crater Mayer
Permalink  
 


This composite image, obtained by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows a nice scene near the Moon terminator (the line separating lunar day and night).


Expand (618kb, 1066 x 1053)
Credits: ESA/Space-X Space Exploration Institute

Low solar elevation on the landscape produces long shadows of several craters reshaped by lava, debris and erosion, and other geological features.
The AMIE camera obtained the snapshot images on 5 and 6 February 2006, from altitudes ranging between 2685 km (bottom of the composite) and 2709 km (top). Each individual snapshot, taken with the AMIE clear filter, is a square of about 135 kilometres per side. The whole composite covers approximately 270 square kilometres.

On the lower right it is possible to see C. Mayer, a complex impact crater 38 kilometres in diameter, located not far away from the northern edge of the Mare Frigoris (63.2° N, 17.3° E).
This crater was formed in relatively recent times. Ejected material is visible around the crater as a smooth hilly area. Terraces formed during the crater collapse can be seen in the inner walls of its sharp-edged rim - an almost polygon-shaped feature - and the crater’s interior is rough and irregular. The illuminated central peak appears very clearly. The lava formation attached to the south-eastern rim of the crater is of particular interest.

On the left of the image is W. Bond, today an irregular walled plain of about 156 kilometres in diameter (5.3° N, 4.5° E). The outer rim of the original W. Bond crater has been eroded and reshaped, and now it basically consists of an outline of hills and mounts. The interior floor is relatively flat in comparison with the rim region, although there are sections of rough terrain near the northern rim.

In the centre of the walled plain is a narrow ditch that runs toward east. To the southeast of this formation is 'W. Bond B', a circular, simple bowl-shaped crater. It is interesting to see the contrast between the rough texture of W. Bond (left of the image) and the smooth surface of the plains at the centre of the image.
The floor of the large crater W. Bond is littered with scattered blocks, likely originating from ejecta from the impact that created the Imbrium basin. The original W.Bond crater must have been filled to a depth of about 2 km, and then cut by the ditch. This provides a rare example of a linear ditch that cuts the ejecta generated by an impact basin.

Source

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Crater Lichtenberg
Permalink  
 


Crater Lichtenberg and young lunar basalts tracked by SMART-1

The images show crater Lichtenberg in the Oceanus Procellarum region on the Moon, centred on an area located at 66.8° West, 32.6° North.



The AMIE camera obtained the images from a distance of between 2064 and 2162 kilometres with a ground resolution of between approximately 186 and 195 metres per pixel.
Most of the time, the SMART-1 spacecraft points exactly downwards to the Moon, so-called 'nadir-pointing'. A pointing mode called the 'target-tracking' mode.
As the spacecraft moves around the Moon, it is commanded to keep pointing at the same target for a certain period of time, even though it moves over the lunar surface faster than 900 metres per second (or 3260 kilometres per hour). In this particular case, the distance between the target and the spacecraft changes by 100 kilometres every six minutes.

The prominent crater in the lower right of the image is crater Lichtenberg, with a diameter of 20 kilometres. There is a height difference between inner crater floor and surrounding lava plain of 1300 metres.
The actual target of this observation was the 'ghost' crater on the lower left of Lichtenberg. This is almost hidden by overflowed lava from Oceanus Procellarum. The SIR infrared spectrometer on board SMART-1 was measuring the composition of this area during these measurements.
This area is of high geological interest and it was selected for the study of the most recent lunar volcanism. It is thought to contain the youngest basalts on the lunar surface, with an age of about 'only' 1000 million years.
From geological mapping, scientists know that there are very young basalts around crater Lichtenberg.

Recent data show that lunar volcanism was active for at least 2000 million years from 4000 million years ago, ceasing at about 2000 million years. In Oceanus Procellarum, it is thought that these basalts are the very youngest basalts on the lunar surface with an age of probably less than 1000 million years. This should be compared with the age of the Moon at about 4500 million years.

Read more

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Crater Billy
Permalink  
 


This composite image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft, shows crater Billy at the edge of a large lava plain on the Moon.

The AMIE camera obtained two images in consecutive orbits (orbits 1778 and 1779), from a distance of about 1260 kilometres with a ground resolution of approximately 114 metres per pixel. Each image has a field of view of 56 kilometres.


Expand (245kb, 921 x 535)
Credit ESA/SPACE-X Space Exploration Institute

Crater Billy is located on the southern fringes of the Oceanus Procellarum, on the western half of the Moon’s Earth-facing side (50° West, 13.5° South). It lies to the south-east of the similar-sized crater Hansteen and west-south-west of the lava-flooded crater Letronne.
The Oceanus Procellarum's southern area is low on spectacle but high in terms of geological interest. An irregular bay, the Mare Humorum on the edge of the ‘ocean’ can be seen below and to the east of the craters Billy and Hansteen.

Billy is an old impact crater, 46 kilometres in diameter, with a rim rising to 1300 metres above its flat floor. The floor of Billy has been flooded by basaltic lava with a low albedo, meaning it leaves a dark surface.
Billy's floor is one of the darkest spots on the Moon’s face, and can easily be seen any time when it is illuminated, even at full Moon. Billy contrasts with Hansteen, which is light-coloured with a hummocky floor.
Billy is named after the French Jesuit astronomer Jacques de Billy (1602-79), who was one of the first to reject the role of astrology in science, along with superstitious notions about the malevolent influence of comets.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
RE: SMART-1
Permalink  
 


The SMART-1 probe, which has been orbiting the Moon since November 2004 is now making observations of the lunar surface using its onboard scientific instruments.
Its main mission, to test the onboard electric propulsion system, has been completed

The first scientific results from SMART-1 will be published in connection with an ESA event in February.

SMART-1 is eventually destined to crash into the lunar surface in August 2006.
The impact site will be near latitude 37 degrees south, and will be observable using a telescope from Earth.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

The European SMART-1 probe has spotted a tiny area on the Moon that could be a promising site to set up a future manned outpost.

Measuring "just a few square kilometres across" and located near the Moon's North Pole, the region is bathed in perpetual sunlight, making it an ideal location for solar cells to power a lunar colony, according to Bernard Foing of the European Space Agency (ESA), who revealed SMART-1's discovery at a conference in Cambridge of American and European astronomers.

SMART-1, powered by an ion engine and with a mass of just 370 kilos, was launched in September 2003 and took 13 months to enter orbit around Earth's satellite.

The probe had also discovered a patch of the Moon that was perpetually dark and never received any sunlight. The lunar axis and obliquity to the Sun mean that there is a location measuring several thousand square kilometres that is always in the dark

SMART-1's next step over the next year will be to test a theory that such a region may harbour water ice. If this is ever confirmed, that too would be an enormous boost for human settlement.

There are suspicions that its soil may have secret reserves of ice, locked away in perpetually dark areas or in deep craters near the poles.

Many countries have shown an interest in having a lunar outpost.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
RE: SMART-1 crater Cassini
Permalink  
 


This image from SMART-1 was dedicated to the Cassini-Huygens mission team at the occasion of the European Geoscience Union conference in Vienna, April 2005, when new results from both missions were presented.

The crater Cassini on our Moon was named in honour of Jean-Dominique Cassini, one of the most important scientists of the 17th and 18th centuries. The joint NASA/ESA/ASI spacecraft, which is now in orbit around Saturn as part of the Cassini-Huygens mission, bears his name.


Expand

This lunar crater has a diameter of 57 km and is located at 40 degrees North on the edge of Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). The crater is partly flooded by lava that later filled the large mare basin.
The three smaller craters (two inside Cassini and one outside) were formed after the lava flooding.
Mare Imbrium is the second largest basin on the visible side of the Moon, with a diameter of 1250 km, and is one of the youngest of the lunar maria (the youngest is Mare Orientale) at between 3700 and 3900 million years old.
It is surrounded by three concentric rings of mountains, uplifted by the huge impact event that excavated it. Some upland hills are seen here to the north-west of Cassini crater (seen at top left, north is up).

The image was taken with the highly compact, lightweight and rugged AMIE camera on board SMART-1.
AMIE stands for the Advanced Moon Micro-Imager Experiment (AMIE) experiment.

AMIE is based on work done by ESA`s Technological Research Programme and developed SPACE-X, Space Exploration Institute, in Neuchatel, Switzerland.



-- Edited by Blobrana at 16:46, 2005-06-20

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
SMART-1
Permalink  
 


Thanks to measurements by the D-CIXS X-ray spectrometer, ESA`s SMART-1 spacecraft has made the first ever unambiguous remote-sensing detection of calcium on the Moon.

SMART-1 (Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology) was launched on 27 September 2003, and is currently performing the verification and calibration of its instruments, while it runs along its science orbit, reaching 450 kilometres from the Moon at its closest distance.
During this calibration phase, which precedes the actual science observations phase, the SMART-1 scientists are getting acquainted with the delicate operations and the performance of their instruments in the warm environment of the lunar orbit.
Although it is still preparing for full lunar operations, D-CIXS has started already sending back high-quality data. D-CIXS is designed to measure the global composition of the Moon by observing how it glows in X-rays when the Sun shines on it.
In fact, different chemical elements provide their `fingerprinting`, each glowing in a unique way.


Expand

On 15 January 2005, between 07:00 and about 09:00 Central European Time, a solar flare occurred, blasting a quantity of radiation that flooded the Solar System and the Moon. "The Sun was kind to us", said Prof Manuel Grande of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, leader of the D-CIXS instrument team.
"It set off a large X-ray flare just as we took our first look downwards at the lunar surface".
The lunar surface reacts to the incoming solar radiation by glowing in different X-ray wavelengths.
This enabled D-CIXS, , to distinguish the presence of chemical elements - including calcium, aluminium, silicon and iron - in Mare Crisium, the area of the lunar surface being observed at that moment.
"It is the first time ever that calcium has been unambiguously detected on the Moon by remote-sensing instrumentation", added Prof. Grande.

Calcium is an important rock-forming element on the Moon.

"Even before our scientists have finished setting up the instruments, SMART-1 is already producing brand new lunar science. When we get D-CIXS and the other instruments fully tuned, with scientific data rolling in routinely, we should have a truly ground-breaking mission" - Bernard Foing, SMART-1 Project Scientist.

source

-- Edited by Blobrana at 16:48, 2005-06-20

__________________
«First  <  1 2 3 4 | Page of 4  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.



Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard