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Private U.S. Company to Partner with NASA for Lunar Lander Development

Oddyssey Moon logo. Credits: Odyssey Moon

[Odyssey Moon Press Release - 31.10.2008]

NASA Ames Collaborates to Develop Robotic Lunar Lander

LADEE model. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 31.10.2008]
NASA Ames Research Center is collaborating with a commercial partner to develop a lunar lander for future low-cost missions to the moon.

NASA to Update Reporters about Constellation Program

[NASA Press Release - 28.10.2008]
NASA will host a media teleconference Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. EDT, to brief reporters about recent developments and ongoing progress in NASA's Constellation Program. Constellation will build the spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station and return humans to the moon by 2020.

Teleconference participants are:
- Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington

NASA $350,000 Prize Goes to Armadillo Aerospace in Lunar Challenge

X Prize Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[NASA Press Release - 27.10.2008]
Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Texas, earned $350,000 in NASA prize money during the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge in Las Cruces, N.M.

The challenge is a two-level, $2 million competition designed to accelerate commercial space technology and is sponsored by NASA's Centennial Challenges program. After Armadillo's $350,000 first place win for level one this year, $1.65 million remains as available prize money for future competitions.

NASA Invites Reporters to Tests of Moon Tools in Hawaii

Artist impression of a regolith exavator. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 22.10.2008]
Media are invited to observe tests of NASA equipment and rover concepts that will demonstrate how astronauts might prospect for lunar resources and make their own oxygen for survival on the moon. The tests will take place Thursday, Nov. 13, starting at 9 a.m. HST outside Hilo, Hawaii.

NASA's In Situ Resource Utilization project focuses on developing methods for astronauts to take advantage of lunar resources at landing sites on the moon. During two weeks of field tests, NASA will demonstrate prototype systems that could enable a sustainable and affordable lunar outpost by minimizing the amount of water and oxygen that must be supplied from Earth. The Pacific International Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, headquartered at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, will host the tests.

NASA And The Challenger Center Announce Naming Contest

A prototype of an inflatable lunar habitat. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 22.10.2008]
NASA and the Challenger Center for Space Education have partnered to engage students in ongoing activities for one of NASA's concepts for astronaut housing on the moon through a contest to name a habitat in Antarctica. NASA currently is conducting a test of a lightweight, durable, inflatable habitat on the cold, harsh landscape of the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station.

NASA Returns to the Moon with Instruments on Indian Spacecraft

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

[NASA Press Release - 20.10.2008]
Two NASA instruments to map the lunar surface will launch on India's maiden moon voyage. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper will assess mineral resources, and the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar, or Mini-SAR, will map the polar regions and look for ice deposits.
The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, is scheduled to launch its robotic Chandrayaan-1 on Oct. 22 from Sriharikota, India.

Lunar Lander Teams To Compete For $2 Million NASA Prize

X Prize Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[NASA Press Release - 17.10.2008]
Nine teams with rocket-powered vehicles will compete for $2 million in NASA prize money during the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Oct. 24-25, at Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico.

Teams must fly their vehicle, simulating a takeoff and landing on the moon, and repeat the task in a limited period of time. The competition provides a demanding test of navigation and control for the vehicles, as well as a demonstration of reusable rocket engine technology.

NASA Invites Reporters to Observe Lunar Rover Tests in Arizona

NASA's new lunar truck prototype. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 15.08.2008]
NASA is practicing for future lunar road trips, and reporters are invited to observe the activities. The annual Desert RATS, or Research and Technology Studies, field test will be held in Arizona during October, and NASA will host a media day on Oct. 24. The tests help NASA engineers identify transportation and spacewalking needs for NASA's return to the moon by 2020 and preparation for human journeys to Mars.

NASA Developing Fission Surface Power Technology

Artist impression of lunar surface fission power system. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 10.09.2008]
NASA astronauts will need power sources when they return to the moon and establish a lunar outpost. NASA engineers are exploring the possibility of nuclear fission to provide the necessary power and taking initial steps toward a non-nuclear technology demonstration of this type of system.

A fission surface power system on the moon has the potential to generate a steady 40 kilowatts of electric power, enough for about eight houses on Earth. It works by splitting uranium atoms in a reactor to generate heat that then is converted into electric power.

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