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Last Updated: Sunday September 03 2006 10:24 GMT

Robot crash makes massive flash

The robot   Picture: Esa

Scientists say they saw a big flash as a space robot crashed into the moon, making a big hole in its surface.

The robot - Smart 1 - had been in space for 16 months, making maps of the moon to try to work out how it was formed.

But the mission is over, and scientists made the robot crash into the moon at 6.42am UK time on Sunday.

Stargazers in Hawaii watched the smash, and caught the flash on camera. It's thought the robot made a 10m crater and sent soil flying 30 miles away.

The flash - caught on camera!
The flash - caught on camera!

The robot was going at 4,500mph when it hit the moon, sending pictures back to Earth as it went down.

More spacecraft are expected to visit the moon in the coming years, with astronauts set to go there in about 2020.

The information provided by Smart 1 is going to be very helpful in planning these missions.

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