EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / CNES / ARIANESPACE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / CNES / ARIANESPACE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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SMART-1 probe launch. Ariane 5 rocket carrying the SMART-1 probe on its way to the Moon. SMART (Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology) is the first ESA craft to fly to the Moon. It will travel to the Moon using a new engine called an ion drive. This provides gradual but long-term acceleration. An ion drive-powered craft could reach greater speeds than a conventional craft. SMART-1 will study the Moon's composition from orbit, and look for water and carbon dioxide ices. It was launched on 27th September 2003.
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