NASA

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NASA Invites Reporters for Lunar Mission Tests at 'Desert Rats'

[NASA Press Release - 30.08.2007]
News media are invited to spend a day with NASA's planetary rovers, robots and futuristic spacesuits as the agency tests hardware for missions to the moon. A media day for the event, known as Desert RATS, will be held Sept. 12 northeast of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies) highlights the partnership between humans and robots in space exploration. This year's event is a field test of advanced concepts that may be used for missions to the moon, which NASA plans to begin by 2020. The tests will take place near a site used to train for the first moon landings during the Apollo Program in the 1960s.

Life and Work on the Moon: What Images Come to Mind?

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

[NASA Press Release - 23.08.2007]
A new NASA contest encourages university art and design
students to partner with science and engineering departments to
create art representative of living and working on the moon. The goal
is for students in the arts, science and engineering to
collaboratively engage in NASA's mission to return humans to the moon
by 2020, and eventually journey on to Mars and other destinations in

Total Lunar Eclipse Draws Attention Back to the Moon

Total lunar eclipse. Credits: Antonio Finazzi and Michele Festa

[NASA Press Release - 21.08.2007]
As August draws to an end, watchers of the night sky will be in for a treat. In the early morning hours of August 28, sky watchers across much of the world can look on as the Moon crosses in to the shadow of the Earth, becoming completely immersed for one-hour and 30 minutes, a period of time much longer than most typical lunar eclipses. In fact, this eclipse will be the deepest and longest in 7 years.

Registration opens for Lunar Plant Growth Chamber Challenge

[NASA Press Release - 08.08.2007]
As space shuttle Endeavour and 10 million cinnamon basil seeds are set to launch on a mission to the International Space Station, NASA has opened registration for the Lunar Plant Growth
Chamber challenge.

Students participating in the challenge will design and build their own greenhouse chambers to analyze and study plant growth from the space-flown seeds following their return to Earth. Students will conduct classroom experiments that may help NASA find new ways to grow and sustain plants in space and on the moon - a critical need for future space exploration.

Moon shows sparks by passing gas

Moon Gas

[MSNBC - 30.07.2007]
Changes in the brightness and color over small areas of the moon's surface, known as Transient Lunar Phenomena have been observed telescopically for hundreds of years.

The optical flashes have been seen by skywatchers but rarely photographed.

"People over the years have attributed TLPs to all sorts of effects: turbulence in Earth's atmosphere, visual physiological effects, atmospheric smearing of light like a prism, and even psychological effects like hysteria or planted suggestion," said Columbia University researcher Arlin Crotts.

NASA Robots Practice Moon Survey in the Arctic Circle

The two rovers from NASA Ames used at the Haughton crater. Credits: NASA

[NASA Ames Press Release - 20.07.2007]
Two NASA robots are surveying a rocky, isolated polar desert within a crater in the Arctic Circle. The study will help scientists learn how robots could evaluate potential outposts on the moon or Mars.

The robots, K10 Black and K10 Red, carry 3-D laser scanners and ground-penetrating radar. The team arrived at Haughton Crater at Devon Island, Canada, on July 12 and will operate the machines until July 31. Scientists chose the polar region because of the extreme environmental conditions, lack of infrastructure and resources, and geologic features. Additionally, Haughton Crater is geographically similar to Shackleton Crater at the South Pole of the moon. Both are impact craters that measure roughly 12.4 miles in diameter.

Apollo Lunar Lander Team to Share Lessons Learned With NASA

Apollo 17 lander on the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 05.07.2007]
On July 20, the 38th anniversary of the first moon landing, NASA will host more than a dozen retired members of an engineering team that worked on the Apollo-era spacecraft that carried astronauts to the lunar surface. The engineers will share lessons learned with current NASA employees in the Constellation Program, which will return astronauts to the moon by 2020.

NASA Liquid-Mirror Telescope on Moon Might See Deeper Back in Time

[NASA Ames Press Release - 21.06.07]
Someday, astronauts on the moon may pour liquid onto a disc-shaped mesh to make a huge mirror for a powerful telescope, according to a technical article just made public.

The liquid would include a silver-coated surface, and would be part of an optical-infrared telescope with a 66-foot (20-meter) to 328-foot (100 meter) aperture capable of observing objects 100 to 1,000 times fainter than the James Webb Space Telescope, the authors say. The technical paper will appear in the June 21, 2007, issue of the journal, Nature.

NASA Prepares for Performing New Science on the Moon

[NASA Press Release - 21.06.07]
NASA has selected proposals for future lunar science activities and established two new programs that will enhance research made possible by the Vision for Space Exploration.

The proposals and programs are part of an effort by NASA to develop new opportunities to conduct important science investigations during the planned renewal of human exploration of the moon.

X PRIZE Foundation Announces Competitors for Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[X-Price press release - 20.06.2007]
A real rocket race is on the horizon with the return of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge (NG-LLC), the centerpiece of the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup and Holloman Air and Space Expo. In the Challenge's second year, the number of teams competing for the $2 million purse has increased from four teams to nine. The NG-LLC, sponsored by NASA's Centennial Challenges Program, is designed to accelerate commercial development of technology that can ferry cargo and humans between the moon's surface and lunar orbit.

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