NASA Invites Media To Experience Lunar Exploration Up Close

Artist impression of a moon telescope. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.08.2008]
Reporters will have a unique chance to experience lunar life, including driving across and touching a simulated moonscape, on Monday, Sept. 8, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Lunar Exploration Workshop will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. CDT, immediately following morning briefings that preview NASA's next space shuttle mission. The STS-125 flight of Atlantis will be the final visit by astronauts to the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA Seeks Input For Commercial Lunar Communications & Navigation

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[NASA Press Release - 19.08.2008]
NASA issued a Request for Information, or RFI, on Monday to gauge interest and solicit ideas from private companies in providing communications and navigation services that would support the development of exploration, scientific and commercial capabilities on the moon over the next 25 years.

NASA plans to establish science stations on the lunar surface beginning as early as 2013, followed by the return of humans to the moon and establishment of the first lunar outpost in 2020.

LEAG-ILEWG-SRR Abstract Deadline


[LEAG Press Release - 13.08.2008]
The abstract deadline for the 3rd LEAG community meeting, which is being held jointly with the 10th ILEWG conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon (ICEUM10) and Space Resources Roundtable X, has been extended until August 19, 2008. The conference will be held at Port Canaveral, October 28-31, 2008.

Full details can be found at:

Weekend Lunar Eclipse

Total lunar eclipse. Credits: Antonio Finazzi and Michele Festa

[ Press Release - 15.08.2008]
This Saturday, August 16th, people on every continent *except* North America can see a lunar eclipse. At maximum, around 2110 UT (5:10 pm EDT), more than 81% of the Moon will be inside Earth's shadow, producing a vivid red orb in the night sky visible to the naked eye even from light-polluted cities. The entire eclipse lasts more than 3 hours, so there's plenty of time for gazing, drinking coffee, and taking pictures.

A Flash of Insight: LCROSS Mission Update

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 11.08.2008]
There are places on the Moon where the sun hasn't shined for millions of years. Dark polar craters too deep for sunlight to penetrate are luna incognita, the realm of the unknown, and in their inky depths, researchers believe, may lie a treasure of great value.

NASA is about to light one up.

Sometime between May and August 2009, depending on launch dates, the booster stage for NASA's LCROSS probe will deliberately crash into a permanently-shadowed lunar crater at 9,000 km/hr, producing an explosion equivalent to about 2,000 pounds of TNT (6.5 billion joules). The blast will jettison material out of the crater into broad daylight where astronomers can search the debris for signs of lunar water.

NASA Tests Moon Imaging Spacecraft at Goddard

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 31.07.2008]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, also known as LRO, has completed the first round of environmental testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. These tests ensure the spacecraft is prepared for its mission to collect the highest resolution images and most comprehensive geological data set ever returned from the moon. The objective of the mission is to map the lunar surface in preparation for human missions to the moon, which are planned to occur by 2020.

NASA Lunar Science Institute Names First International Partner

NASA Lunar Science Institute. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 30.07.2008]
NASA's Lunar Science Institute at Moffett Field, Calif., has announced its first international affiliate partner for conducting lunar science activities. Canada's University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, will represent the Canadian lunar science community as part of the newly established Canadian Network for Lunar Science and Exploration.

"We are tremendously excited about this partnership," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. "With the large number of U.S. and international missions focused on the moon, this is absolutely the right step forward."

NASA Hosts International Meeting For Lunar Science Discussions

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[NASA Press Release - 30.07.2008]
NASA hosted a meeting of space agencies from nine countries last week to discuss the next steps in the ongoing scientific exploration of the moon. The meeting laid the groundwork for a new generation of lunar science.

Discussions, led by NASA Headquarters officials, were held at NASA's Lunar Science Institute, located at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. Representatives from space agencies in Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States attended the meeting. During the meeting, attendees discussed cooperation on an international activity called the International Lunar Network (ILN). The network is designed to gradually place 6-8 fixed or mobile science stations on the lunar surface. The stations will form a second-generation robotic science network to replace hardware left by the Apollo Program to study the moon's surface and interior.

NASA Awards Contracts for Concepts of Lunar Surface Systems

Astronauts and Lander on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 28.07.2008]
NASA's Constellation Program has selected 11 companies and one university to independently develop concepts that contribute to how astronauts will live and work on the moon.

Each organization will conduct a 180-day study focused on a topic relevant to lunar surface systems. Selected organizations and topics are:

  • Alternative Packaging Options: Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston

Media Invited for Demo of Lunar Surface Manipulator Concept

[NASA Press Release - 28.07.2008]
A NASA concept for lifting and manipulating materials on the lunar surface will be demonstrated for reporters at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., on Friday, Aug. 1.

NASA's Lunar Surface Manipulation System recently completed a successful June field test on the lunar-like landscape of Moses Lake, Wash. The system is a lifting and precision positioning device that will be used on items ranging from large airlocks and habitats to delicate scientific payloads. The robotic manipulator incorporates features that could help astronauts during early lunar outpost construction and follow-on operations. The principles behind the device also are directly applicable to future operations on the Martian surface.

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