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SMART-1 north pole travel map
Dec. 05, 2007
 
SMART-1 north pole travel map Dec. 05, 2007  

From album Image Gallery


This mosaic of the lunar north pole was obtained with images taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1. The pictures were taken between May 2005 and February 2006, during different phases of the mission. The mosaic, composed of about 30 images, covers an area of about 800 by 600 km. The lunar near-side facing Earth is at the bottom of the map, while the far-side is at the top. A number of interesting lunar craters are indicated. Peary, visible in the center of the mosaic, is the crater closest to the lunar north pole. It is nearly circular (about 73 km across), with an eroded rim and a relatively flat crater floor marked by smaller craters inside. The southern part of its interior is permanently in shadow, making it difficult to image. It was named after the American polar explorer Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920). Byrd, in the bottom-center part of the mosaic, is a crater about 94 km across. Its rim is eroded, and its floor was once flooded by lava which left it nearly flat. It was named after the American polar explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1957). Hermite is an impact crater about 104 km across, located along the northern lunar limb, close to the north pole of the Moon. From Earth, this crater is viewed nearly from the side, illuminated by oblique sunlight. It is eroded and has a rugged outer rim, incised from past impacts. Its interior forms a wide plain marked by numerous tiny craters and low hills. Sylvester, about 58 km in diameter, is an almost-circular lunar impact crater visible on the left-hand side of the image. It is located along the northern limb, and has a sharp-edged rim. Due its location, it only receives sunlight at a low angle. It is named after the English mathematician James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897). Plaskett crater, about 109 km across, is located on the northern far-side of the Moon, 200 km from the north pole, near the lunar limb. It receives sunlight at a low angle. When obtaining the images, SMART-1 was flying over the north pole at a distance of about 3000 km, allowing large-field (about 300 km across) and medium-resolution views (300 m/pixel). Each individual image includes areas imaged with color filters and a more exposed area. The differences have been corrected accordingly to obtain this mosaic.

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Rosetta Swing-by a Success
 
Rosetta Swing-by a Success  

From album Multimedia



 

An important milestone has just been accomplished as Rosetta successfully swung by Earth at 21:57 CET. The spacecraft will now be catapulted towards the outer Solar System with its newly-gained energy before coming back to Earth for another boost.Europe’s comet chaser has now flown a little over 3 thousand million km of its 7.1 thousand-million-km journey on its way to its destination comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This was the third planetary swing-by for Rosetta and its second swing-by of Earth 
As mission operators waited for the fully automated manoeuvre to be carried out, Rosetta flew directly above 63° 46’ south and 74° 35’ west, at 21:57 CET (above the Pacific ocean, south-west of Chile). Rosetta whizzed past 5295 km overhead, at a velocity of 45 000 km/h (12.5 km/s).


Science close to Earth
Scientists are now eagerly awaiting some of the first data to become available during the course of the night.
Around closest approach, Rosetta took a good look at Earth for observations of its atmosphere and magnetosphere, imaged urban regions, and looked for meteors from space. Shortly before midnight, Rosetta will turn to observe the Moon until about 11:00 CET tomorrow, 14 November. Following this, on 15, 16, 18 and 20 November, Rosetta will observe the Earth-Moon system from a distance, on its outbound trajectory.

Rosetta will be back in our neighbourhood, and will swing by Earth for the last time in November 2009. But before that, as it crosses the asteroid belt, Rosetta will grab the opportunity to study asteroid Steins during a fly-by in September 2008.
Tune in early tomorrow morning: we will be publishing pictures and results as soon as they become available, throughout the day on 14 November.

This animation shows Rosetta’s closest approach to Earth during its second swing-by of our planet on 13 November this year. Here the fly-by is shown as it would look if seen from below.
This month’s Earth swing-by is Rosetta’s third major step on its 10-year journey to comet 67/P-Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A trajectory correction manoeuvre successfully performed last month prepared ESA’s comet chaser for the upcoming encounter, and now Rosetta is right on track.
In swinging by Earth, the spacecraft will have gained the right amount of energy from Earth’s gravity to precious save fuel for later on.
Closest approach will take place on 13 November 2007 at 21:57 CET, at which time Rosetta will speed past at 45 000 km/h (about 12.5 km/s) relative to Earth. At this time, Rosetta will be 5301km above the Pacific Ocean, south-west of Chile, at 63° 46’ south and 74° 35’ west.
During this Earth swing-by, a few experiments both on the orbiter and the Philae lander will be activated for calibration, scientific measurements and imaging. Rosetta will first point to Earth and then to the Moon for the observations.

 



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Rosetta closest to Earth
 
Rosetta closest to Earth  

From album Image Gallery


This is an artist’s rendition of Rosetta’s closest approach to Earth during its second swing-by of our planet on 13 November this year. The image shows the fly-by configuration as seen from below. This month’s Earth swing-by is Rosetta’s third major step on its 10-year journey to comet 67/P-Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A trajectory correction maneuver successfully performed last month prepared ESA’s comet chaser for the upcoming encounter, and now Rosetta is right on track. In swinging by Earth, the spacecraft will have gained the right amount of energy from Earth’s gravity to save precious fuel for later on. Closest approach will take place on 13 November 2007 at 21:57 CET, at which time Rosetta will speed past at 45 000 km/h (about 12.5 km/s) relative to Earth. At this time, Rosetta will be 5301km above the Pacific Ocean, south-west of Chile, at 63° 46’ south and 74° 35’ west. During this Earth swing-by, a few experiments both on the orbiter and the Philae lander will be activated for calibration, scientific measurements and imaging. Rosetta will first point to Earth and then to the Moon for the observations.

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The lunar north pole - SMART-1 mosaic
Dec. 05, 2007
 
The lunar north pole - SMART-1 mosaic Dec. 05, 2007  

From album Image Gallery


This mosaic of the lunar north pole was obtained with images taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1. The pictures were taken between May 2005 and February 2006, during different phases of the mission. The mosaic, composed of about 30 images, covers an area of about 800 by 600 km. The lunar near-side facing Earth is at the bottom of the map, while the far-side is at the top. When obtaining the images, SMART-1 was flying over the north pole at a distance of about 3000 km, allowing large-field (about 300 km across) and medium-resolution views (300 m/pixel). Each individual image includes areas imaged with color filters and a more exposed area. The differences have been corrected accordingly to obtain this mosaic.

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Second Earth Swing-by
 
Second Earth Swing-by  

From album Multimedia


On 13 November 2007 Rosetta performs its second Earth swing-by which is part of a series of gravity assists required to put the spacecraft on an intercept course with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This animated sequence, generated using the NASA Solar System simulator, shows Rosetta's orbit (green) from 1 July 2007 through 31 March 2008, in a top view of the inner Solar System.
The second Earth swing-by on 13 November is shown from Rosetta's perspective in the middle of the sequence, for a period of 10 hours around closest approach.

Note: during and around closest approach Rosetta will perform several slews. These changes in pointing have not been integrated in this sequence, which shows a continuous Earth pointing.
This second Earth swing-by occurs nearly 9 months after the Mars swing-by in February 2007 (see also the orbit animation of this event linked from the right-hand side) and 2 years and 8 months after the first Earth swing-by in March 2005.
The last in the series of these gravity assists will occur on 13 November 2009 when Rosetta returns for its third Earth swing-by, after which the spacecraft sets course for its final destination: comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.




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