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Europe all set for lunar mission Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[ESA Press Release - 25.09.2008]
Europe is participating in a big way in the Indian Space Agency’s Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon, by contributing three instruments. All these instruments have now been delivered, tested and integrated with the spacecraft.

The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is now at the Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO’s facilities in Bangalore, India. Delivery for each instrument is completed once the hardware physically arrives, has been integrated with the spacecraft, and the software interfaces are checked.

NASA and ESA complete comparative exploration architecture study

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[ESA Press Release - 09.07.2008]
Over the last 6 months, representatives from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been engaged in detailed assessment of potential programs and technologies that when conducted cooperatively could one day support a human outpost on the Moon.

NASA and ESA experts jointly briefed the results of the NASA/ESA Comparative Architecture Assessment on 7 and 8 July during an ESA sponsored Integrated Architecture Review held at ESA’s ESTEC facility in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The study, which commenced in January 2008, was intended to assess the degree to which NASA and ESA’s lunar exploration architecture concepts could complement, augment, or enhance the exploration plans of one another. Technical teams from each agency engaged in a series of joint, qualitative assessments of the potential scientific and exploration benefits that arise from collaboration between the ESA capabilities under study and NASA’s Ares I and V space transportation systems and lunar surface exploration architecture concepts.

Eight teams taking up ESA’s Lunar Robotics Challenge

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[ESA Press Release - 02.07.2008]
As interest in exploration of the Moon soars among the world’s space agencies, ESA, through it's General Studies Programme, has challenged university students to develop a robotic vehicle that is capable of working in difficult terrain, comparable to that found at the lunar poles. Eight university teams have been selected to proceed to the design stage of ESA’s Lunar Robotics Challenge.

Human space exploration in the future

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[ESA Vodcast - 30.05.2008]
To land on the Moon and on Mars, scientists need a mix of human and robotic missions to know in advance what challenges must be met. A video report from the Berlin International Airshow's Space Pavilion on the future of human exploration in space.

In February 2008, the Agency's long-awaited Columbus science lab was successfully delivered to the International Space Station, and on 3 April, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle - the Jules Verne - made a spectacular automated docking to the Russian ISS module, establishing ESA as a full partner in ISS operations.

New lunar south polar maps from SMART-1

SMART-1 mosaic of the lunar south pole. Credits: ESA/Space-X

[ESA Press Release - 11.03.2008]
Newly-released images of the lunar south-polar region obtained by ESA’s SMART-1 are proving to be wonderful tools to zero-in on suitable study sites for potential future lunar exploration missions.

SMART-1’s Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) has collected many images of the lunar south-polar region, with unprecedented spatial resolution. The images, obtained over a full year of changing seasons were used to study the different levels of solar illumination on the Moon’s surface.

Europe’s next ride to the Moon: Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[EAS Press Release - 11.01.2008]
Excitement is rising as ESA is in the final stages of preparation for the first collaborative space mission with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Chandrayaan-1 will study the Moon in great detail and be the first Indian scientific mission leaving the Earth’s vicinity.

Europe is supplying three instruments for the mission.
The Moon retains its fascination for planetary scientists and presents many mysteries still ripe for investigation. Chandrayaan, which means ‘journey to the Moon’ in Hindi, will study the Moon at many wavelengths from X-rays, visible, and near infrared to microwaves during its mission. It will orbit the moon in a circular path, just 100 km above the lunar surface.

SMART-1: Travel maps of the lunar north pole

SMART-1 mosaic of the lunar north pole. Credits: ESA/Space-X

[ESA Press Release - 05.12.2007]
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.

SMART-1: Europe on the Moon, one year on

SMART-1 heading for the Moon. Credits: ESA

[ESA Press Release - 31.08.2007]
A year ago, as Europe reached the Moon for the first time, scientists on Earth eagerly watched SMART-1’s 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 satellite’s 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.

SMART-1 diagnoses wrinkles and excess weight on the Moon

SMART1 image of wrinkles on the moon. Credit: ESA/SPACE-X

[ESA Science Press Release - 22.08.2007]

Owing to SMART-1’s high resolution and favourable illumination conditions during the satellite’s scientific operations, data from Europe’s lunar orbiter is helping put together a story linking geological and volcanic activity on the Moon.

The combination of high-resolution data from SMART-1’s AMIE micro-camera and data from the US Clementine mission is helping scientists determine the tectonics of the Moon’s giant basins and the history of volcanic flooding of mid-sized craters, inside and around the lunar basins.

Oresme: Signs from the Lunar Heavy Bombardment

Oresme crater seen from Smart-1. Credits: ESA/Space-X

[ESA Press Release - 18.05.2007]
This image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the Oresme crater on the Moon.

AMIE obtained this picture on 30 August 2006 - only 4 days before SMART-1’s final impact on the lunar surface. It was taken from a distance of 1 100 kilometres over the surface, with a ground resolution of 110 metres per pixel.

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