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LRO to Help Astronauts Survive in Infinity

Artist impression of lunar outpost. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 16.04.2009]
Space seems exotic, forbidding, and remote, but imagine trying to survive winter without a heated shelter or warm clothing. Our ancestors developed these technologies because they needed room to grow; without them, we would still be confined to narrow areas along the equator, but with them, we could live anywhere in the world. With the right technology, space is just another place for people to live.

Join STEREO and Explore Gravitational "Parking Lots" That May Hold Secret of Moon's Origin

Artist impression of STEREO. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 09.04.2009]
Two places on opposite sides of Earth may hold the secret to how the moon was born. NASA's twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft are about to enter these zones, known as the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points, each centered about 93 million miles away along Earth's orbit.

As rare as free parking in New York City, L4 and L5 are among the special points in our solar system around which spacecraft and other objects can loiter. They are where the gravitational pull of a nearby planet or the sun balances the forces from the object's orbital motion. Such points closer to Earth are sometimes used as spaceship "parking lots", like the L1 point a million miles away in the direction of the sun. They are officially called Libration points or Lagrangian points after Joseph-Louis Lagrange, an Italian-French mathematician who helped discover them.

Beyond Apollo: Moon Tech Takes a Giant Leap

The ATHLETE rover climbing a hill. Credits: NASA

[Science@NASA Release - 04.04.2009]
The flight computer onboard the Lunar Excursion Module, which landed on the Moon during the Apollo program, had a whopping 4 kilobytes of RAM and a 74 KB "hard drive." In places, the craft's outer skin was as thin as two sheets of aluminum foil.

It worked well enough for Apollo. Back then, astronauts stayed on the lunar surface for only a few days at a time. But when NASA sends people back to the Moon starting around 2020, the plan will be much more ambitious — and the hardware is going to need a major upgrade.

Mt. Redoubt Gives Alaskans a Taste of the Moon

The Apollo 17 rover on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 03.04.2009]
"It's very fine but angular – the sharp edges make it feel gritty and abrasive."

"It can cause short circuits and failure of electronic components ... and physical damage to equipment."

"It's much more abrasive than sand....scratches anything that comes in contact...."

"...a real nuisance....stuck to everything – equipment, instruments,...likely to penetrate seals,....plugs bolt holes, fouls tools, ....."

Newly Restored "Picture of the Century": Lunar Orbiter 2's View of Copernicus

Earth-rise from Lunar Orbiter 1. Credits: NASA/LOIRP

[LOIRP Press Release - 21.03.2009]
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has released another iconic image taken during the Lunar Orbiter program in the 1960's. This image, which shows the dramatic landscape within the crater Copernicus was often referred to as the "picture of the century" by many people at the time of its original public release in 1966.

This image was taken by the Lunar Orbiter 2 spacecraft at 7:05 p.m. EST on 24 November 1966 from an altitude of 28.4 miles above the lunar surface, 150 miles due south of Copernicus. At the time this image was originally released most views of the lunar surface involved looking straight down. Little, if any, sense of the true elevation of lunar surface features was usually available. This photo changed that perception by showing the Moon to be a world with tremendous topography - some of it Earth-like, much of it decidedly un-earth-like.

Celebrate Apollo: NASA Commemorates the 40th Anniversary

Apollo 17 lander on the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 26.03.2009]
NASA is planning a number of activities and events in 2009 as America nears the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20. The events will celebrate the Apollo Program, its accomplishments, and the benefits to our lives today.

"Celebrate Apollo: Exploring the Moon, Discovering Earth" is an effort to engage the public and disseminate information about NASA's historic, current and future missions. Several items have been developed to aid the celebration, including an Apollo 40th anniversary logo, calendar of events and Web site.

NASA Moon Mission Brings Divergent Passions Together

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 17.03.2009]
Growing up in the rural Appalachian foothills of the Ohio Valley, John Marmie developed a passion for music. When he combined that passion with his enthusiasm for space exploration, he was inspired to write an original song, 'Water on the Moon.'

As the deputy project manager for the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., Marmie is helping spearhead America's return to the moon. Scheduled to launch later this year, the LCROSS mission is designed to search for water by impacting one of the moon's permanently shadowed craters. Marmie's goal is to not only help write history with LCROSS, but also to inspire others.

Help to define a lunar lander

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[ESA Press Release - 02.03.2009]
ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight is inviting industrial, technology and scientific communities to provide inputs for experiments and payload elements for accommodation on its first lunar lander.

This Request for Information follows last year's ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, where funding was approved for ESA to work towards launching a lunar lander in the 2017–20 timeframe within the European Transportation and Human Exploration Preparatory Activities programme and the Global Exploration Strategy (GES).

Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon Researchers Show Small Robots Can Prepare Lunar Surface for NASA Outpost

Astrobotic Technology logo. Credits: Astrobotic Technology

[Astrobotic Press Release - 25.02.2009]
Small robots the size of riding mowers could prepare a safe landing site for NASA’s Moon outpost, according to a NASA-sponsored study prepared by Astrobotic Technology Inc. with technical assistance from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon researchers analyzed mission requirements and developed the design for an innovative new type of small lunar robot under contract from NASA’s Lunar Surface Systems group.

Chang'e-1 crashes into Moon

Chang'e-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: CNSA

Chinese and international media reported today that the Chinese Moon probe Chang'e-1 has ended its mission by a controlled crash with the surface of the Moon on the end of its 16 months lifetime.

Not much information has been released to the public about this mission after it was launched October 2007 but a few images has been released, most notably two and three dimensional lunar surface maps, and resource maps.

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