Blogs

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.

Life and Work on the Moon: What Images Come to Mind?

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

[NASA Press Release - 23.08.2007]
A new NASA contest encourages university art and design
students to partner with science and engineering departments to
create art representative of living and working on the moon. The goal
is for students in the arts, science and engineering to
collaboratively engage in NASA's mission to return humans to the moon
by 2020, and eventually journey on to Mars and other destinations in

SMART-1 diagnoses wrinkles and excess weight on the Moon

SMART1 image of wrinkles on the moon. Credit: ESA/SPACE-X

[ESA Science Press Release - 22.08.2007]

Owing to SMART-1’s high resolution and favourable illumination conditions during the satellite’s scientific operations, data from Europe’s lunar orbiter is helping put together a story linking geological and volcanic activity on the Moon.

The combination of high-resolution data from SMART-1’s AMIE micro-camera and data from the US Clementine mission is helping scientists determine the tectonics of the Moon’s giant basins and the history of volcanic flooding of mid-sized craters, inside and around the lunar basins.

Total Lunar Eclipse Draws Attention Back to the Moon

Total lunar eclipse. Credits: Antonio Finazzi and Michele Festa

[NASA Press Release - 21.08.2007]
As August draws to an end, watchers of the night sky will be in for a treat. In the early morning hours of August 28, sky watchers across much of the world can look on as the Moon crosses in to the shadow of the Earth, becoming completely immersed for one-hour and 30 minutes, a period of time much longer than most typical lunar eclipses. In fact, this eclipse will be the deepest and longest in 7 years.

Registration opens for Lunar Plant Growth Chamber Challenge

[NASA Press Release - 08.08.2007]
As space shuttle Endeavour and 10 million cinnamon basil seeds are set to launch on a mission to the International Space Station, NASA has opened registration for the Lunar Plant Growth
Chamber challenge.

Students participating in the challenge will design and build their own greenhouse chambers to analyze and study plant growth from the space-flown seeds following their return to Earth. Students will conduct classroom experiments that may help NASA find new ways to grow and sustain plants in space and on the moon - a critical need for future space exploration.

Lunex at the Space Generation Congress

SGAC logo. Credits: SGAC

The Lunar Explorers Society will be present at this years Space Generation Congress (SGC) in Hyderabad, India. Together with the SGC, Lunex will organise a workshop called "Lunar Explorers Society", where we will look at how Lunex best can organise its upcoming role at the ICEUM9/ILC'07 conference in Sorrento, Italy. We will also invite the workshop participants to come with ideas for the future of Lunex; how we can improve our website, how we can recruit more members, etc.

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