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Newly Restored "Picture of the Century": Lunar Orbiter 2's View of Copernicus

Earth-rise from Lunar Orbiter 1. Credits: NASA/LOIRP

[LOIRP Press Release - 21.03.2009]
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has released another iconic image taken during the Lunar Orbiter program in the 1960's. This image, which shows the dramatic landscape within the crater Copernicus was often referred to as the "picture of the century" by many people at the time of its original public release in 1966.

This image was taken by the Lunar Orbiter 2 spacecraft at 7:05 p.m. EST on 24 November 1966 from an altitude of 28.4 miles above the lunar surface, 150 miles due south of Copernicus. At the time this image was originally released most views of the lunar surface involved looking straight down. Little, if any, sense of the true elevation of lunar surface features was usually available. This photo changed that perception by showing the Moon to be a world with tremendous topography - some of it Earth-like, much of it decidedly un-earth-like.

Celebrate Apollo: NASA Commemorates the 40th Anniversary

Apollo 17 lander on the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 26.03.2009]
NASA is planning a number of activities and events in 2009 as America nears the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20. The events will celebrate the Apollo Program, its accomplishments, and the benefits to our lives today.

"Celebrate Apollo: Exploring the Moon, Discovering Earth" is an effort to engage the public and disseminate information about NASA's historic, current and future missions. Several items have been developed to aid the celebration, including an Apollo 40th anniversary logo, calendar of events and Web site.

NASA Moon Mission Brings Divergent Passions Together

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 17.03.2009]
Growing up in the rural Appalachian foothills of the Ohio Valley, John Marmie developed a passion for music. When he combined that passion with his enthusiasm for space exploration, he was inspired to write an original song, 'Water on the Moon.'

As the deputy project manager for the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., Marmie is helping spearhead America's return to the moon. Scheduled to launch later this year, the LCROSS mission is designed to search for water by impacting one of the moon's permanently shadowed craters. Marmie's goal is to not only help write history with LCROSS, but also to inspire others.

Help to define a lunar lander

Artist impression of Moonbase. Credits: ESA

[ESA Press Release - 02.03.2009]
ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight is inviting industrial, technology and scientific communities to provide inputs for experiments and payload elements for accommodation on its first lunar lander.

This Request for Information follows last year's ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, where funding was approved for ESA to work towards launching a lunar lander in the 2017–20 timeframe within the European Transportation and Human Exploration Preparatory Activities programme and the Global Exploration Strategy (GES).

Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon Researchers Show Small Robots Can Prepare Lunar Surface for NASA Outpost

Astrobotic Technology logo. Credits: Astrobotic Technology

[Astrobotic Press Release - 25.02.2009]
Small robots the size of riding mowers could prepare a safe landing site for NASA’s Moon outpost, according to a NASA-sponsored study prepared by Astrobotic Technology Inc. with technical assistance from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon researchers analyzed mission requirements and developed the design for an innovative new type of small lunar robot under contract from NASA’s Lunar Surface Systems group.

Chang'e-1 crashes into Moon

Chang'e-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: CNSA

Chinese and international media reported today that the Chinese Moon probe Chang'e-1 has ended its mission by a controlled crash with the surface of the Moon on the end of its 16 months lifetime.

Not much information has been released to the public about this mission after it was launched October 2007 but a few images has been released, most notably two and three dimensional lunar surface maps, and resource maps.

NASA Awards Contract for Constellation Spacesuit for the Moon

NASA moon spacesuit concept. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 27.02.2009]
NASA has awarded an interim letter contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston to begin work on the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for the Constellation Program. The system will protect astronauts during voyages to the International Space Station and exploration of the moon's surface.

The letter contract requires Oceaneering International to begin work on the basic period of performance while NASA and the company negotiate the contract's final terms. The current award amount for the performance of the letter contract is limited to $9.6 million. It will become effective March 2 and be in effect until the full contract is defined, no later than Aug. 29, 2009.

NASA Mission To Seek Water Ice On Moon Heads To Florida For Launch

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 17.02.2009]
NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, known as LCROSS, is enroute from Northrop Grumman's facility in Redondo Beach, Calif., to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for a spring launch.

The satellite's primary mission is to search for water ice on the moon in a permanently shadowed crater near one of the lunar poles. LCROSS is a low-cost, accelerated-development, companion mission to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. At Kennedy, the two spacecraft will be integrated with an Atlas V launch vehicle and tested for final flight worthiness. LCROSS and LRO are the first missions in NASA's plan to return humans to the moon and begin establishing a lunar outpost by 2020.

NASA Lunar Spacecraft Ships South In Preparation For Launch

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 11.02.2009]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft was loaded on a truck Wednesday to begin its two-day journey to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Launch is targeted for April 24.

The spacecraft was built by engineers at Goddard, where it recently completed two months of tests in a thermal vacuum chamber. During its time in the chamber, the spacecraft was subjected to hot and cold temperatures it will experience as it orbits the moon.

New Kaguya video available

Kaguya HD footage of the Moon. Credits: JAXA/NHK

A new video of Mare Moscoviense taken by Kaguya has recently been released at http://wms.selene.jaxa.jp/selene_viewer/jpn/observation_mission/tc/tc_030.html. The website has been renewed, and the video is now available for download.

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