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  Countdown starts to Euro moon mission
Updated 18 August 2003, 15.08
The Smart-1 is a European moon mission
A European mission to try and work out where the moon came from will blast off into space in September.

The Smart-1 explorer is using lots of new technology, and will become the first spacecraft to use solar power to help it reach its destination.

The solar power makes the special ion engine work, and in the future, these engines will help spacecraft travel much faster than they do now.

Smart-1 is full of new technology
Smart-1 is full of new technology
That's because the new type of engine doesn't need rocket fuel to make it go, so it doesn't have to carry loads of the really heavy fuel with it.

Once it gets to the moon, around December 2004, Smart-1 will use x-ray scanners to find out what sort of things it is made of.

Depending on what they find, it may prove a theory that the moon was a bit of the Earth that was blown into space when a huge space object hit the planet billions of years ago.

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
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First European moon mission set for July
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