Blogs

NASA's LRO Spacecraft Sends First Lunar Images to Earth

First image of the lunar surface by LRO. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 02.07.2009]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has transmitted its first images since reaching lunar orbit June 23. The spacecraft has two cameras -- a low resolution Wide Angle Camera and a high resolution Narrow Angle Camera. Collectively known as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, they were activated June 30. The cameras are working well and have returned images of a region a few kilometers east of Hell E crater in the lunar highlands south of Mare Nubium.

Hi-Res Radar Image of the Lunar South Pole

SMART-1 mosaic of the lunar south pole. Credits: ESA/Space-X

[NAIC Press Release - 02.07.2009]
A high-resolution S-band (12.6 cm wavelength) radar view of the lunar south pole, obtained using the NAIC Arecibo Observatory and the NRAO Green Bank Telescope (GBT), is now available for download. These data were acquired in 2005 and have a single-look spatial resolution of 20 m per pixel. The WEB site where the images can be obtained is http://arecibo.tc.cornell.edu/lunarimages/default.aspx

NASA Selects Nine New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration

Artist impression of lunar outpost. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 29.06.2009]
After reviewing more than 3,500 applications, NASA has selected nine people for the 2009 astronaut candidate class. They will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston this August.

"This is a very talented and diverse group we've selected," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "They will join our current astronauts and play very important roles for NASA in the future. In addition to flying in space, astronauts participate in every aspect of human spaceflight, sharing their expertise with engineers and managers across the country. We look forward to working with them as we transcend from the shuttle to our future exploration of space, and continue the important engineering and scientific discoveries aboard the International Space Station."

NASA Announces Apollo Anniversary Events, News Conference

Apollo 17 lander on the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 26.06.2009]
NASA has announced a schedule of events to commemorate the achievements of the Apollo program and the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing. Among the activities is a news conference with astronauts from several Apollo missions scheduled for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. EDT, July 20, in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA Headquarters is located at 300 E St., S.W.

NASA Gives Media, Public Look Inside Apollo Moon Rock Vault

Lunex honorary board member Harrison Schmitt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.06.2009]
NASA will offer reporters an unprecedented chance to conduct interviews with scientists inside the lab that stores moon rocks Apollo astronauts collected during their six missions. The July
2 interview opportunities from the Apollo Lunar Sample Processing Lab and Storage Vaults at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will take place nearly 40 years after humans first walked on the moon.

NASA Partners With California Space Authority; Regolith Challenge

Artist impression of a regolith exavator. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.06.2009]
NASA today announced that it has signed an agreement with the California Space Authority, Inc., (CSA) to collaborate on participatory science and public outreach using a simulated lunar surface environment.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, CSA will establish an office at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in NASA Research Park. This fall, NASA Ames and CSA, along with its sister organization, the California Space Education and Workforce Institute, will host the Regolith Excavation Challenge, a prize competition focused on developing improved lunar regolith handling technologies.

German team Part-Time-Scientists Enters $30 million Google Lunar X-Prize competition

Google Lunar Xprize logo. Credits: Xprize

[X Prize Press Release - 24.06.2009]
Today, Team Part-Time-Scientists announced its official entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, marking Germany’s debut in this new race to the Moon. The team joins the $30 million contest that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch a privately funded spacecraft to the Moon. The spacecraft must complete a series of exploration and transmission tasks as outlined in the competition’s official rules. Team Part-Time-Scientists, headquartered in Berlin, Germany has seven team members and is among 19 teams from 42 countries that are competing for their share of the multi-million dollar prize purse.

NASA Moon Impactor Successfully Completes Lunar Maneuver

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 23.06.2009]
The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, successfully completed its most significant early mission milestone Tuesday with a lunar swingby and calibration of its science instruments. The satellite will search for water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the moon's south pole.

With the assist of the moon's gravity, LCROSS and its attached Centaur booster rocket successfully entered into polar Earth orbit at 6:20 a.m. PDT on June 23. The maneuver puts the spacecraft and Centaur on course for a pair of impacts near the moon's south pole on Oct. 9.

NASA Lunar Mission Successfully Enters Moon Orbit

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 23.06.2009]
After a four and a half day journey from the Earth, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully entered orbit around the moon. Engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., confirmed the spacecraft's lunar orbit insertion at 6:27 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

During transit to the moon, engineers performed a mid-course correction to get the spacecraft in the proper position to reach its lunar destination. Since the moon is always moving, the spacecraft shot for a target point ahead of the moon. When close to the moon, LRO used its rocket motor to slow down until the gravity of the moon caught the spacecraft in lunar orbit.

Last shots captured by the Kaguya HD camera

Kaguya in orbit around the Moon. Credits: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

[JAXA Press Release - 19.06.2009]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) would like to release the final still images taken by the onboard High Definition Television (HDTV) of the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" just prior to its maneuvered falling to the Moon. The images are attached below. The KAGUYA was launched on September 14, 2007, and was controlled to be dropped to the Moon on June 11, 2009, as its mission was completed.

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