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What do you think about the final SMART-1 event?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:38 am
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What do you think about the final SMART-1 event? 
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Post What do you think about the final SMART-1 event?   Posted on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:38 am
Over here in Germany I herad someone say that it shouldn't have been done because it's going to turn the Moon into a waste depot - no matter that a low lunar orbit can't be kept.

What do you think about the event (besides the science done by it)?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:30 pm
Why not crash future lunar orbiters all in the same area so as to limit the contamination? I know that this might limit the amount of data obtained from regolith that is thrown up when viewed from Earth.

If the area could be made small enough it might be possible to set up some sort of recovery system, a lunar scrapyard. Although most of the equipment is likely to be smashed up when it hits the surface some might be able to be reused (metals could be melted down to create new lunar infrastructure).

Lets not create space junk when there is a possible untapped resource on hand that can be taken advantage of, all those space age alloys could be worth something. :)

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:16 pm
I think it is silly because it could have been a perfectly good communication sattelite between a future moonbase, earth and iis or other space stations in orbit around earth. I know smart1 is not a comsat in any way, but if you would built a worthy-to-mention comcapability into that satelite, you will save a lot of time, effort and money once you're gonna want a comsat in lunar orbit anyway. The mission would have been a bit more expensive, but imo it should have been more economically wise then design, built and launch it all over again.

It sounds lame for now, but once you're gonna need sattelites in orbit of the moon, we could have had those capability needs allready there when we were 'exploring' and investigating the moon instead of slamming several million euro's into the surface.

Allthough slamming it into the surface obviously has some scientific value, but no practical value. A working satelite is much more valuable.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:28 pm
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
it could have been a perfectly good communication sattelite between a future moonbase,
But that is many years or even decades in the future. And as Ekkehard pointed out, low lunar orbit is unstable. Without constant course corrections, which require propellant, gravitational irregularities of the Moon will cause it to crash anyway within very a few years, or maybe even within a few months.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:08 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
it could have been a perfectly good communication sattelite between a future moonbase,
But that is many years or even decades in the future. And as Ekkehard pointed out, low lunar orbit is unstable. Without constant course corrections, which require propellant, gravitational irregularities of the Moon will cause it to crash anyway within very a few years, or maybe even within a few months.


I think ESA pretty much extended SMART1's life as far as it could, I think I am right in saying that they managed to squeeze an extra year out of it as it was.

Why put something in to lunar orbit now when it wont be needed for probably over a decade by which time better technology will be available to give a much better comms link. SMART1 had a number of tasks to fulfill, which it did better than anyone expected it would have been wasteful to increase its capacity still further when there was no real requirement.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:07 pm
Of course each Apollo mission left far more trash on the Moon than the Smart-1 crash did. Any future Moon base will cause even more trash to accumulate there. And if efforts to mine the Moon are implemented, massive holes will be dug in the surface and piles of slag will be produced by whatever process is used to separate oxygen or HE3 or whatever from the ore. Especially HE3 will require many square kilometers of the surface to be destroyed. Crashing one small satellite is nothing compared to that.

But I must say that if we have to pollute someplace, better the Moon than the Earth.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:25 am
The surface of the moon has about the same area as Europe & Asia combined. I don't think one vapourized washing machine, is cause to worry. Ten thousand wouldn't be. Especially in a landscape made by meteor impacts. Even the rocks thrown out of impact craters have small impact craters of their own!

SMART-1 is not lying in little bits like after a car crash, or at the end of the movie "Space Cowboys". It hit at thousands of miles per hour, and literally vapourized. It's kinetic energy was equivalent to almost 80 kg of TNT.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:04 pm
No bad space cowboy jokes, or somebody get whacked.

Seriously, though, Wannabe's right. There's no debris. A small crater (I dare ya to find it), but no debris.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:11 am
There wasn't enough energy available for complete vaporization of the probe, some of it will have become vapour, but significantly more will have become fine liquid droplets. Some small pieces might even be recognisable. Either way, SMART-1 is now history and the moon's surface, being a badly maintained museum is exactly where it belongs.


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