ESA Science & Technology30-Jun-2005 15:13:42


Robotic Vision

After the launch of SMART-1, other lunar probes will follow. Japan's second Moon mission, 'Lunar-A' should be launched in mid 2004, to arrive at the Moon in mid 2005. After landing, it will hammer penetrators into the lunar crust and collect seismic data to estimate the size of the Moon's core. It will carry an equatorial black and white camera, whose data analysis will gain from SMART-1's multicolour images and spectrometric data.

Japan has set itself an ambitious long-term objective to set up a permanent Moon base. The following step consists in sending an unmanned four tonne spacecraft. Bearing the name of the Moon goddess, Selene is a science and engineering mission. It is comprised of a relay satellite in Moon orbit and an orbiter (from which a lander may be deployed depending on resources). Selene is to be launched in August 2005, for a 5 day cruise to the Moon. With the ESA SMART-1 mission as precursor, but still operating until the end of 2005, the Moon will thus see a trio of spacecraft that will be able to acquire combined data in synergy.

Japan's Lunar-A Mission (ISAS)

US Selene Mission (NASDA)

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