August 29th, 2006

classic beard

"There was supposed to be moon-shattering kaboom!"

This weekend (currently late saturday night, but there's still a 7 hour window...)

The SMART-1 solar-powered ion-engine probe ran out of Xenon (reaction mass) a while back, and completed its primary mission (engine demo :-)

Since it was going to impact the moon anyway, they've used the remaining hydrazine in the navigational thrusters to adjust its terminal orbit - so it will impact in a known place, throwing up a mass of dust that *should* be visible from earth... the second url has "where to look" details.

(I'm going to try to lashup my new camera to the telescope and do some practice shots later this week, but it's too cloudy tonight...)