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NASA to Release Enhanced Radar Imagery of Lunar South Pole

Radar image of the Lunar south pole. Credits: Cornell University

NASA scientists have obtained the highest resolution terrain mapping to date of the moon's rugged south polar region and will discuss the imagery Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the 3rd Space Exploration Conference in Denver.

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., generated the imagery using data collected with the facility's Goldstone Solar System Radar. The news media briefing is scheduled for noon MST in Room 506 of the Colorado Convention Center.

Who's Orbiting the Moon?

Earth-rise seen from Kaguya. Credits: JAXA/NHK

[NASA Press Release - 22.02.2008]
The space around Earth is a busy place, as teeming with traffic as a roundabout. More than 500 active satellites are bustling about up there right now. Some are transmitting radio, television, and telephone signals; others are gathering information about Earth's atmosphere and weather; still others are helping people navigate down here; and the rest are conducting space research.

NASA Names Interim Lunar Science Institute Director

David Morrison has been appointed interim director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, based at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., effective immediately. A nationwide search for a permanent director is under way.

A world-renowned planetary scientist, Morrison currently serves as senior scientist at the Ames-based NASA Astrobiology Institute. The Lunar Science Institute will be modeled after the Astrobiology Institute, with teams across the nation working together to help lead the agency's research activities related to NASA's exploration goals.

Students Gear Up For NASA's Annual Great Moonbuggy Race

The Apollo 17 rover on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

NASA is looking for a fast set of wheels. The 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race is set for April 4-5. During the race, dozens of high school and college teams careen around a track at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. They pilot wheeled rovers of their own design, and perhaps launch their future as the next generation of lunar explorers.

NASA's Quest to Find Water on the Moon Moves Closer to Launch

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 14.01.2008]
Cameras and sensors that will look for the presence of water on the moon have completed validation tests and been shipped to the manufacturer of NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.

The science instruments for the satellite, which is known as LCROSS, departed NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field Calif., for the Northrop Grumman Corporation's facility in Redondo Beach, Calif. to be integrated with the spacecraft. A video file is available on NASA Television. LCROSS is scheduled to launch with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., by the end of 2008.

NASA's Next Moon Mission Spacecraft Undergoing Critical Tests

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 14.01.2008]
NASA's next mission to Earth's closest astronomical body is in the midst of integration and testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as LRO, will spend at least a year mapping the surface of the moon. Data from the orbiter will help NASA select safe landing sites for astronauts, identify lunar resources and study how the moon's environment will affect humans.

Lighting up the Lunar Night with Fuel Cells

Illustration of a solar array and regenerative fuel cell on the moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 12.12.2007]
How do you survive in a remote, mountainous region that has no water or wind and sometimes goes without sunlight for weeks?

This is not the premise for a survivalist reality show; it's a question NASA must answer before sending humans to live and work on the moon.

Within the next twenty years, people again will explore the vast lunar terrain. This time, we're going to build a permanent outpost where we will conduct scientific research, learn to live off the land, and test new technologies for future missions to Mars and beyond.

New NASA Mission to Reveal Moon's Internal Structure and Evolution

[NASA Press Release - 11.12.07]At a Monday meeting of the American Geophysical Union, NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Alan Stern announced the selection of a new mission that will peer deep inside the moon to reveal its anatomy and history.

The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission is a part of NASA's Discovery Program. It will cost $375 million and is scheduled to launch in 2011. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

Watch Out for Flying Moondust

Lunar lander touch-down. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 28.11.2007]
NASA is returning to the Moon in the next decade with plans to establish a durable outpost. There will be habitats, rovers, supply depots and mining equipment. Ships will be coming and going, landing and blasting off--and kicking up debris that might fly a lot farther than boulders at Cape Canaveral. Metzger is researching this problem as part of his work at KSC's Granular Mechanics and Surface Systems Lab.

NASA Tests Lunar Habitat in Extreme Antarctic Environment

A prototype of an inflatable lunar habitat. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 14.11.2007]
NASA will use the cold, harsh, isolated landscape of Antarctica to test one of its concepts for astronaut housing on the moon. The agency is sending a prototype inflatable habitat to Antarctica to see how it stands up during a year of use.

Agency officials viewed the habitat Wednesday at ILC Dover in Frederica, Del., as it was inflated one last time before being packed and shipped to Antarctica's McMurdo Station. NASA is partnering on the project with the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va., which manages McMurdo Station, and ILC Dover, the company that manufactured the prototype structure. All three organizations will share data from the 13-month test, which runs from January 2008 to February 2009. An inflatable habitat is one of several concepts being considered for astronaut housing on the moon.

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