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NASA Announces New Center Assignments for Moon Exploration

Concept of one potential design for a future lunar rover. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 30.10.2007]
NASA announced Tuesday which agency centers will take responsibility for specific work to enable astronauts to explore the moon. The new assignments cover elements of the lunar lander and lunar surface operations. The agency also announced work assignments for Ares V, a heavy-lift rocket for lunar missions.

"NASA's Constellation Program is making real progress toward sending astronauts to the moon," said Rick Gilbrech, associate administrator for Exploration Systems, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "Work on our new fleet of rockets and spacecraft, Ares I and Orion, is already well under way. With these new assignments, NASA will launch the next phase of its exploration strategy - landing crews and cargo on the surface of the moon."

NASA to Establish Nationwide Lunar Science Institute

Lunex Honorary Member Jack Schmidt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA.

[NASA Press Release - 30.10.2007]
NASA has announced its intent to establish a new lunar science institute. This effort, with dispersed teams across the nation, will help lead the agency's research activities for future lunar science missions related to NASA's exploration goals.

Named the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), the effort will be managed from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Ames currently manages a similar distributed NASA Astrobiology Institute.

NASA to Announce Work Assignments to Enable Lunar Exploration

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

[NASA Press Release - 29.10.2007]
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, NASA will take another important step toward returning astronauts to the moon by assigning key future Constellation Program work to its field centers. The agency's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate will host a media roundtable at 1 p.m. EDT at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St., S.W., Washington.

Briefers will be:
Rick Gilbrech, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems Doug Cooke, NASA deputy associate administrator for exploration systems Jeff Hanley, Constellation Program manager

NASA Offers $2 Million Lunar Lander Competition Prize

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[NASA Press Release - 24.10.2007]
During the X PRIZE Cup Oct. 27-28, NASA's Centennial Challenges Program will offer prizes totaling $2 million if competing teams successfully meet the requirements of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The challenge will take place at Holloman Air Force Base, in Alamogordo, N.M.

The purpose of the lunar lander challenge is to accelerate technology development leading to a commercial vehicle that could one day be capable of ferrying cargo or humans back and forth between lunar orbit and the moon's surface.

NASA is forming a new Lunar Science Institute reports that NASA plans to form a NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) patterned on the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).

"Speaking tonight at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Orlando, Stern said that the initial selection would be done of 4 to 5 lead teams at a cost of $1-2 million each.

As i

NASA Spacecraft to Carry Russian Science Instruments

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 03.10.2007]
NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos have agreed to fly two Russian scientific instruments on NASA spacecraft that will conduct unprecedented robotic missions to the moon and Mars.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov signed agreements in Moscow on Oct. 3 to add the instruments to two future missions: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, scheduled to launch in October 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory, an advanced robotic rover scheduled to launch in 2009.

Lunar Outpost Plans Taking Shape

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

[NASA Feature - 01.10.2007]
NASA's blueprints for an outpost on the moon are shaping up. The agency's Lunar Architecture Team has been hard at work, looking at concepts for habitation, rovers, and space suits.

NASA will return astronauts to the moon by 2020, using the Ares and Orion spacecraft already under development. Astronauts will set up a lunar outpost – possibly near a south pole site called Shackleton Crater – where they’ll conduct scientific research, as well as test technologies and techniques for possible exploration of Mars and other destinations.

NASA Seeks Proposals for Constellation Moon Suit

Lunex Honorary Member Jack Schmidt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA.

[NASA Press Release - 01.10.2007]
NASA has issued a request for proposals from industry for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and the moon.

The Constellation spacesuit system contract is for design, development, test, evaluation and production of equipment to support astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Orion will carry astronauts on trips to explore the moon and support the space station in the next decade. NASA expects to award the contract in June 2008.

A New Lunar Impact Telescope

[NASA Feature - 28.09.2007]
NASA scientists are proving that you can go home again – if you bring a telescope with you. "Home" is north Georgia's Walker County, where astronomers Bill Cooke and Rob Suggs have just set up a research-grade observatory for their old school system.

Years ago, they won't say how many, Cooke and Suggs attended the same high school in Walker County and after school they volunteered at the Walker County Science and Technology Center. The center's telescopes fueled their fire for astronomy. They learned to operate the instruments, find their way around the night sky, and they took their first pictures of the Moon.

NASA Maps the Moon With Google

New higher resolution lunar imagery and maps including NASA multimedia content now are available on the Google Moon Web site.

Updates include new content from the Apollo missions, including dozens of embedded panoramic images, links to audio clips and videos, and descriptions of the astronauts' activities during the missions.
The new content is overlaid on updated, higher-resolution lunar maps.

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