Friday, September 01, 2006

The Most Underreported Science Story Ever

Okay, well, maybe not ever, but this peaked my Trek-nerd sensibilities: The European Space Agency (ESA) -- the europeans have their own space agency! Huh??? -- has announced that their first unmanned space module is due to crash-land on the moon this Sunday. The SMART-1 took 14 months to reach its target because they were using an ion thruster as its main propulsion into the orbit of the earth's moon. Little particles of ion atoms sent the tiny ship skittering into its orbit. There's something very peaceful about that image.

Here's another image of the SMART-1 on its launcher, the Ariane, as it awaits the go-ahead at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. For updates on the SMART-1 and the ESA, go here.
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