PSLV-C11 Successfully Launches Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[ISRO Press Release - 22.10.2008]
In its fourteenth flight conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota this morning (October 22, 2008), the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C11, successfully launched the 1380 kg Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into a transfer orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 255 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 22,860 km, inclined at an angle of 17.9 deg to the equator.

NASA Returns to the Moon with Instruments on Indian Spacecraft

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[NASA Press Release - 20.10.2008]
Two NASA instruments to map the lunar surface will launch on India's maiden moon voyage. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper will assess mineral resources, and the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar, or Mini-SAR, will map the polar regions and look for ice deposits.
The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, is scheduled to launch its robotic Chandrayaan-1 on Oct. 22 from Sriharikota, India.

Lunar Lander Teams To Compete For $2 Million NASA Prize

X Prize Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[NASA Press Release - 17.10.2008]
Nine teams with rocket-powered vehicles will compete for $2 million in NASA prize money during the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Oct. 24-25, at Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico.

Teams must fly their vehicle, simulating a takeoff and landing on the moon, and repeat the task in a limited period of time. The competition provides a demanding test of navigation and control for the vehicles, as well as a demonstration of reusable rocket engine technology.

NASA Invites Reporters to Observe Lunar Rover Tests in Arizona

NASA's new lunar truck prototype. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 15.08.2008]
NASA is practicing for future lunar road trips, and reporters are invited to observe the activities. The annual Desert RATS, or Research and Technology Studies, field test will be held in Arizona during October, and NASA will host a media day on Oct. 24. The tests help NASA engineers identify transportation and spacewalking needs for NASA's return to the moon by 2020 and preparation for human journeys to Mars.

Division for Planetary Sciences of AAS releases recordings from the DPS'08 conference

DSP'08 Logo. Credits: AAS/DSP

The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is currently organizing the 40th annual meeting of the DSP at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. The conference treats topics relevant to planetary science.

The various sessions are broadcasted live, and also available as web-streams after the sessions ends. Two sessions are dedicated to lunar exploration, you can find them here:

Kaguya Image Taking of "Full Earth-Rise" by HDTV

Earth-rise seen from Kaguya. Credits: JAXA/NHK

[JAXA Press Release - 09.10.2008]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) successfully captured a movie of the "Full Earth-Rise"*1 using the onboard High Definition Television (HDTV) of the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) on September 30, 2008 (Japan Standard Time, JST, all the following dates and time are JST.) The KAGUYA is currently flying in a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km.

Europe all set for lunar mission Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[ESA Press Release - 25.09.2008]
Europe is participating in a big way in the Indian Space Agency’s Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon, by contributing three instruments. All these instruments have now been delivered, tested and integrated with the spacecraft.

The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is now at the Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO’s facilities in Bangalore, India. Delivery for each instrument is completed once the hardware physically arrives, has been integrated with the spacecraft, and the software interfaces are checked.

NASA Developing Fission Surface Power Technology

Artist impression of lunar surface fission power system. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 10.09.2008]
NASA astronauts will need power sources when they return to the moon and establish a lunar outpost. NASA engineers are exploring the possibility of nuclear fission to provide the necessary power and taking initial steps toward a non-nuclear technology demonstration of this type of system.

A fission surface power system on the moon has the potential to generate a steady 40 kilowatts of electric power, enough for about eight houses on Earth. It works by splitting uranium atoms in a reactor to generate heat that then is converted into electric power.

NASA To Hold Briefing About Lunar Exploration Concepts And Plans

Lunar lander touch-down. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 08.09.2008]
NASA is inviting interested industry representatives, academics and reporters to learn more about the Ares V heavy lift-launch vehicle, the Altair lunar lander, and the roles they will play in returning humans to the moon by 2020.

The Exploration Systems Mission Directorate forum will take place Thursday, Sept. 25, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. EDT, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H Street NW, Washington. The forum will focus on the first phase conceptual designs for the Ares V heavy lift-launch vehicle, the Altair lunar lander and lunar exploration scenarios. Forum attendees will discuss the outcomes of a nine-month lunar transportation capabilities study and near-term business opportunities.

Lunex participating in distributed computing projects

Lunex logo. Credits: Lunex

[Lunex Press Release - 01.09.2008]
The Lunar Explorers Society (Lunex) has established teams in the popular distributed computing projects folding@home and seti@home. If you want to join either or both of these teams and donate your CPU time, please follow these links:

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