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European Probe Makes Controlled Crash on Moon


A European Space Agency probe has completed a three-year mission to test deep space technologies by making a controlled crash on the moon.

The SMART-1 probe hit the lunar surface at 0542 UTC Sunday on a volcanic plain called the Lake of Excellence at a speed of about 7,200 kilometers per hour. It had orbited the moon for the past 14 months.

Mission manager Gerhard Schwehm calls Europe's first mission to the moon "a great success."

The probe's main mission was to test a solar-electric propulsion system the European Space Agency hopes to use for future interplanetary missions. SMART-1 also carried miniaturized scientific instruments to examine the lunar surface.

SMART stands for Small Mission for Advanced Research and Technology. The craft was launched in September of 2003, and began orbiting the moon in November of 2004.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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