Astronomy Picture of the Day

SMART-1: Pythagoras Crater

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SMART-1: Pythagoras Crater


Stark shadows show off the central peaks and terraced walls
of 120 kilometer wide
Pythagoras Crater in this
of images
from ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft.

Characteristic of large, complex
impact craters on the Moon,
the central uplift was produced by a rebound of
the suddenly molten lunar crust during the violent
impact event.

Propelled by an efficient
ion engine, the innovative SMART-1
spacecraft entered lunar orbit in November
last year after a leisurely 13 month journey from planet Earth.

Now viewing
the lunar surface from an altitude of 1,000 to 5,000 kilometers
(Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology -1)
will spiral closer to
the Moon later this month.

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