Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Doug Ellison

Europlanet : Simulating the SMART-1 impact

Posted by Doug Ellison

22-08-2007 6:48 CDT

Topics:

by Doug Ellison in Potsdam

Today is about the Moon - the main conference hall has a series of presentations throughout the day - the first half being mainly about the European orbiter SMART-1. Mark Burchell (who spoke about Stardust yesterday) talked about simulating the impact of SMART-1 into the lunar surface at the end of its mission. Using the same gas gun that was used to understand the Stardust collection process, he and his team simulated the comparatively low speed, very low angle of incidence impact for SMART-1

Light Gas Gun

Light Gas Gun
The light gas gun used to simulate impacts of comet material into aerogel, and SMART-1 into the Moo
A typical lunar meteorite impact, the sort that are occasionally caught on film, average an angle of about 45 degrees, and a speed of many tens of kilometers per second - perhaps 75 or more. SMART-1 was traveling at just two kilometers per second - and hit the surface at an angle of one degree. The question is, what should we expect that to do in terms of cratering and ejecta, and what might happen to the spacecraft? Mark's team used a lunar regolith simulant based on sand, and a 2-millimeter-diameter aluminium sphere fired down their 5-meter-long gas gun. They did a total of 14 test runs, with two at 10 degrees, four at 5 degrees, four at 2 degrees, and a final four at the SMART-1 impact angle of 1 degree. The morphological changes between these angles are significant.

At 10 degrees, the crater is fairly round and a central peak forms, slightly

 
See other posts from August 2007

 

Or read more blog entries about:

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.

Donate

Featured Images

Opportunity panorama at Rocheport
Ice Flows and Dunes in Mars' Northern Polar Region
The TRAPPIST-1 system: Where might liquid water exist?
The TRAPPIST-1 system
More Images

Featured Video

Intro Astronomy 2017. Class 5: Venus & Mars

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!