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SMART-1 Goes Into Lunar Orbit - Universe Today
The European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft is no longer orbiting the Earth... it's orbiting the Moon! The spacecraft has been slowly raising its orbit using its efficient ion engine, and yesterday it passed within 5,000 km (3,100 miles) of the Moon, using its gravity to shift the spacecraft's trajectory. Its engine will now fire for 4 days straight to complete the orbital maneuver. It will continue lowering its orbit around the Moon until mid-January, when it'll get as close as 300 km (186 miles) and begin a scientific study.