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A lunar orbiter’s final resting place

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New observations reveal a lunar orbiter’s final resting place

Our Moon is a graveyard of satellite crash sites, including the demise of SMART-1.


In September 2006, the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-1 (SMART-1) successfully ended its three-year Moon-orbiting mission by hurling itself into the lunar surface. The planned crash was meant to simulate meteor impacts on the Moon for study, as well as possibly throw up deeper materials (including water ice) for identification to aid scientists in their study of our Moon’s composition. Although the craft’s impact was — as intended — recorded via telescope from Earth, recent observations of our planet’s satellite have for the first time revealed the exact location of SMART-1’s final resting place.

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