Blogs

NASA Spacecraft to Carry Russian Science Instruments

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 03.10.2007]
NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos have agreed to fly two Russian scientific instruments on NASA spacecraft that will conduct unprecedented robotic missions to the moon and Mars.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov signed agreements in Moscow on Oct. 3 to add the instruments to two future missions: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, scheduled to launch in October 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory, an advanced robotic rover scheduled to launch in 2009.

Lunar Outpost Plans Taking Shape

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

[NASA Feature - 01.10.2007]
NASA's blueprints for an outpost on the moon are shaping up. The agency's Lunar Architecture Team has been hard at work, looking at concepts for habitation, rovers, and space suits.

NASA will return astronauts to the moon by 2020, using the Ares and Orion spacecraft already under development. Astronauts will set up a lunar outpost – possibly near a south pole site called Shackleton Crater – where they’ll conduct scientific research, as well as test technologies and techniques for possible exploration of Mars and other destinations.

NASA Seeks Proposals for Constellation Moon Suit

Lunex Honorary Member Jack Schmidt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA.

[NASA Press Release - 01.10.2007]
NASA has issued a request for proposals from industry for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and the moon.

The Constellation spacesuit system contract is for design, development, test, evaluation and production of equipment to support astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Orion will carry astronauts on trips to explore the moon and support the space station in the next decade. NASA expects to award the contract in June 2008.

A New Lunar Impact Telescope

[NASA Feature - 28.09.2007]
NASA scientists are proving that you can go home again – if you bring a telescope with you. "Home" is north Georgia's Walker County, where astronomers Bill Cooke and Rob Suggs have just set up a research-grade observatory for their old school system.

Years ago, they won't say how many, Cooke and Suggs attended the same high school in Walker County and after school they volunteered at the Walker County Science and Technology Center. The center's telescopes fueled their fire for astronomy. They learned to operate the instruments, find their way around the night sky, and they took their first pictures of the Moon.

NASA Maps the Moon With Google

New higher resolution lunar imagery and maps including NASA multimedia content now are available on the Google Moon Web site.

Updates include new content from the Apollo missions, including dozens of embedded panoramic images, links to audio clips and videos, and descriptions of the astronauts' activities during the missions.
The new content is overlaid on updated, higher-resolution lunar maps.

Kaguya (Selene) successfully launched

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

[JAXA Press Release - 14.09.2007]
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Lunar Orbit Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) at 10:31:01 a.m. on September 14, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and, at about 45 minutes and 34 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the KAGUYA was confirmed.

Google Sponsors Lunar X PRIZE to Create a Space Race for a New Generation

Google Lunar Xprize logo. Credits: Xprize

[Xprize Press Release - 13.09.2007]
The X PRIZE Foundation and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a robotic race to the Moon to win a remarkable $30 million prize purse. Private companies from around the world will compete to land a privately funded robotic rover on the Moon that is capable of completing several mission objectives, including roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images and data back to the Earth.

SMART-1: Europe on the Moon, one year on

SMART-1 heading for the Moon. Credits: ESA

[ESA Press Release - 31.08.2007]
A year ago, as Europe reached the Moon for the first time, scientists on Earth eagerly watched SMART-1’s spectacular impact. New results from the impact analysis and from the instruments still keep coming.

One year on, we present ongoing scientific highlights of the mission. The analysis of data and simulations of the satellite’s impact provide clues on the dynamics of the ejecta after the flash, along with laboratory experiments or modelling of impacts. The experience gained is being put to good use in preparation for future missions.

NASA Invites Reporters for Lunar Mission Tests at 'Desert Rats'

[NASA Press Release - 30.08.2007]
News media are invited to spend a day with NASA's planetary rovers, robots and futuristic spacesuits as the agency tests hardware for missions to the moon. A media day for the event, known as Desert RATS, will be held Sept. 12 northeast of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies) highlights the partnership between humans and robots in space exploration. This year's event is a field test of advanced concepts that may be used for missions to the moon, which NASA plans to begin by 2020. The tests will take place near a site used to train for the first moon landings during the Apollo Program in the 1960s.

New Lunar Radar Data on the Planetary Data System

The Planetary Data System has posted an archive of new 70-cm Earthbased radar image data for the Moon: http://pds-geosciences.wustl.edu/missions/lunar_radar/index.htm

These data cover much of the near side, including views of the southern highlands at favorable libration. The gap in coverage of the northwestern limb region will be filled in this December.

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