The European Space Agency (ESA) last week crashed its Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology (SMART)-1 lunar orbiter into the Lake of Excellence, located at mid-southern latitudes on the Moon's near side, in the culmination of the spacecraft's mission.

The collision was carried out to produce Moon regolith ejecta that could be analysed by Earth-based astronomers looking for water ice.

Water ice is important for the long-term manned lunar outposts that the world's space agencies are planning for the 2020s. When the collision occurred, astronomers saw an image that indicated a very short impact flash, which may have been caused by a thermal emission from the impact or by the release of spacecraft volatiles.

Lake of Excellence 

 The Lake of Exellence collision site


Source: Flight International