The European Space Agency (ESA) crashed the Smart-1 probe into the moon at 4,500mph in the early hours of this morning. The plume of dust thrown up will enable scientists to analyse the chemistry of the surface material more accurately.
It was the first ion-powered motor ever used in the history of space flight. Charged xenon atoms are expelled from the back, using electricity from solar panels. The thrust produced is slower but steadier than conventional rockets, which give short, sharp thrusts that expend large amounts of fuel at a lower velocity. The ion drive proved highly efficient and lightweight in powering the dishwasher-sized probe.
“Actually, the story about analysing the dust was bullshit,” said a spokesman for the ESA, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We named it Smart-1 with our tongues firmly in our cheeks. The trouble is that the steering’s a bitch. And it didn’t help that the guy piloting it remotely was from South London. If we’d known what reckless drivers these guys are, we’d never have let him near it. Of course, he’s laughing his arse off and talking about meeting Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear.
“And the other thing is that it’s not just a dishwasher-sized probe, as referred to in our press releases,” said our source. “It was, in fact, an actual dishwasher. Europe has a dishwasher-mountain and this is the first phase in testing extra-terrestrial dumping of white electrical goods like dishwashers, fridge-freezers and washing-machines.”
There was further consternation at ESA’s headquarters this evening as scientists discovered that the absorption spectrum of the dust was identical with that of dehydrated blue cheese.