Trond Krovel's blog

NASA's LCROSS Reveals Target Crater For Lunar South Pole Impacts

Cabeus A crater. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 11.09.2009]
NASA has selected a final destination for its Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, after a journey of nearly 5.6 million miles that included several orbits around Earth and the moon. The mission team announced Wednesday that Cabeus A will be the target crater for the LCROSS dual impacts scheduled for 7:30 a.m. EDT on Oct. 9, 2009. The crater was selected after an extensive review as the optimal location for LCROSS' evaluation of whether water ice exists at the lunar south pole.

Students To Participate In NASA's Lunar Field Test Activities

The ATHLETE rover climbing a hill. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 11.09.2009]
To prepare for human exploration of the moon and other destinations in our solar system, NASA is conducting a field test of rovers and equipment at an Earthly site in the Arizona desert. Hundreds of students are invited to experience it. NASA's annual Desert RATS -- or Research and Technology Studies -- field test is underway. The agency has planned a variety of activities to engage students in the practical application of the science, technology, math and engineering skills critical to space exploration.

NASA Selects Target Crater for Lunar Impact of LCROSS Spacecraft

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 08.09.2009]
NASA has identified the spot where it will search for water on the moon. Reporters are invited to attend the announcement of the target location where the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its spent Centaur rocket will hit in October. The briefing will take place at 10 a.m.
PDT, Friday, Sept. 11, in the main auditorium, Building N201, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site.

Dutch Firm AOES Group BV Partners with White Label Space Team in $30 Million Google Lunar X PRIZE

White Label Space Logo. Credits: WLS

[White Label Space Press Release - 30.08.2009]
White Label Space has announced its newest Partner, AOES Group BV (AOES). AOES is a well-established supplier of specialist engineering services to the European Space Agency (ESA) with a long track record dating back to 1980. AOES will contribute to White Label Space’s no-name space mission to land on the Moon, which will provide massive media exposure and sponsorship opportunities for the world’s biggest brands.

Chandrayaan-I Spacecraft Loses Radio Contact

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

[ISRO Press Release - 29.08.2009]
Radio contact with Chandrayaan-I spacecraft was abruptly lost at 0130 Hrs (IST) on August 29, 2009. Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore received the data from Chandrayaan-I during the previous orbit upto 0025 Hrs (IST).

Detailed review of the Telemetry data received from the spacecraft is in progress and health of the spacecraft subsystems is being analysed.

ISRO-NASA Joint Experiment To Search for Water Ice on the Moon

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

[ISRO Press Release - 21.08.2009]
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NASA performed a unique joint experiment today (Aug. 21, 2009), that could yield additional information on the possibility of existence of ice in a permanently shadowed crater near the North pole of the moon. Known as Bi-Static Experiment, it involved ISROs Chandrayaan-1 and NASAs Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. Currently, Chandrayaan-1 and LRO are orbiting the Moon. The two spacecraft passed close enough to one another when they were over the lunar North pole to attempt this interesting experiment.

NASA Announces Lunar Exploration Competition for Students

Lunar rover mining. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 04.08.2009]
NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate is accepting proposals from teams of undergraduate and graduate students for the inaugural Lunabotics Mining Competition. The event will be held at the Astronaut Hall of Fame near NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., May 25-28, 2010.

LCROSS spacecraft anomaly

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.08.2009]
Upon starting an early morning communications pass on Aug. 22, 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission operations team discovered the spacecraft had experienced an anomaly.

According to spacecraft data, the LCROSS Inertial Reference Unit (IRU) experienced a fault. The IRU is a sensor used by the spacecraft's attitude control system (ACS) to measure the orientation of the spacecraft. The anomaly caused the spacecraft ACS to switch to the Star Tracker Assembly for spacecraft rate information and caused the spacecraft's thruster to fire excessively, consuming a substantial amount of fuel. Initial estimates indicate that the spacecraft still contains sufficient fuel to complete the full mission.

LOIRP and LRO Confirm That Humans Walked on the Moon

LRO and Lunar Orbiter comparison. Credits: LOIRP/NASA

[LOIRP Press Release - 20.08.2009]
Yesterday the LRO team released a new image of the Apollo 14 landing site. You can clearly make out the paths that the crew walked as well as the location of the Apollo 14 Antares Lunar Module Descent Stage.

In June 2009 LOIRP issued its own view and analysis of this landing site - as seen by Lunar Orbiter III back in 1967.

Comparing our high resolution image of the site with that taken by LRO clearly shows no feature where Antares' Descent Stage now stands [larger image]. While the resolution of the Lunar Orbiter image (0.8 meters/pixel) would probably not reveal astronaut tracks in great detail, we're rather certain that it would have seen an object the size of Antares' Descent Stage.

2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Competition Winning Attempts Scheduled

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[X-Prize Press Release - 25.08.2009]
The X PRIZE Foundation announced today that three teams have registered to make attempts to win the $1.65 million still available in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The prize program is managed by the X PRIZE Foundation as part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program. The competition is designed to accelerate technological developments supporting the commercial creation of vertical take-off and landing rockets with enhanced safety and performance.

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