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NASA

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NASA's LCROSS Reveals Target Crater For Lunar South Pole Impacts

Cabeus A crater. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 11.09.2009]
NASA has selected a final destination for its Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, after a journey of nearly 5.6 million miles that included several orbits around Earth and the moon. The mission team announced Wednesday that Cabeus A will be the target crater for the LCROSS dual impacts scheduled for 7:30 a.m. EDT on Oct. 9, 2009. The crater was selected after an extensive review as the optimal location for LCROSS' evaluation of whether water ice exists at the lunar south pole.

Students To Participate In NASA's Lunar Field Test Activities

The ATHLETE rover climbing a hill. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 11.09.2009]
To prepare for human exploration of the moon and other destinations in our solar system, NASA is conducting a field test of rovers and equipment at an Earthly site in the Arizona desert. Hundreds of students are invited to experience it. NASA's annual Desert RATS -- or Research and Technology Studies -- field test is underway. The agency has planned a variety of activities to engage students in the practical application of the science, technology, math and engineering skills critical to space exploration.

NASA Selects Target Crater for Lunar Impact of LCROSS Spacecraft

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 08.09.2009]
NASA has identified the spot where it will search for water on the moon. Reporters are invited to attend the announcement of the target location where the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its spent Centaur rocket will hit in October. The briefing will take place at 10 a.m.
PDT, Friday, Sept. 11, in the main auditorium, Building N201, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site.

NASA Announces Lunar Exploration Competition for Students

Lunar rover mining. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 04.08.2009]
NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate is accepting proposals from teams of undergraduate and graduate students for the inaugural Lunabotics Mining Competition. The event will be held at the Astronaut Hall of Fame near NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., May 25-28, 2010.

LCROSS spacecraft anomaly

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.08.2009]
Upon starting an early morning communications pass on Aug. 22, 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission operations team discovered the spacecraft had experienced an anomaly.

According to spacecraft data, the LCROSS Inertial Reference Unit (IRU) experienced a fault. The IRU is a sensor used by the spacecraft's attitude control system (ACS) to measure the orientation of the spacecraft. The anomaly caused the spacecraft ACS to switch to the Star Tracker Assembly for spacecraft rate information and caused the spacecraft's thruster to fire excessively, consuming a substantial amount of fuel. Initial estimates indicate that the spacecraft still contains sufficient fuel to complete the full mission.

LOIRP and LRO Confirm That Humans Walked on the Moon

LRO and Lunar Orbiter comparison. Credits: LOIRP/NASA

[LOIRP Press Release - 20.08.2009]
Yesterday the LRO team released a new image of the Apollo 14 landing site. You can clearly make out the paths that the crew walked as well as the location of the Apollo 14 Antares Lunar Module Descent Stage.

In June 2009 LOIRP issued its own view and analysis of this landing site - as seen by Lunar Orbiter III back in 1967.

Comparing our high resolution image of the site with that taken by LRO clearly shows no feature where Antares' Descent Stage now stands [larger image]. While the resolution of the Lunar Orbiter image (0.8 meters/pixel) would probably not reveal astronaut tracks in great detail, we're rather certain that it would have seen an object the size of Antares' Descent Stage.

LPI Announces New Public Moon Website

MyMoon Logo. Credits: LPI

[LPI Press Release - 21.07.2009]
The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is pleased to announce the release of an expanding lunar education new-media portal, MyMoon. MyMoon leverages our new scientific exploration of the Moon and innovative social networking opportunities to engage a fresh new audience in lunar science and exploration - the Net Generation. LPI is collaborating with lunar scientists, educators, artists - and the public - to populate it with science content, diverse media exhibits, events, and opportunities for involvement. Through MyMoon, the public can interact with lunar content that will inform them about NASA's lunar science research and missions, and engage them in future plans for lunar exploration and eventual habitation.

Study Aims to Maximize Scientific Return from Moon Rovers

South Pole-Aitken Basin. Credits: LPI

[PSI Press Release - 24.07.2009]
NASA and other national space agencies are again focused on lunar exploration, which raises the question of how to best use semi-autonomous rovers to explore the Moon’s surface.

R. Aileen Yingst, a senior scientist at the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute, is leading a group of Mars-rover veterans who are conducting field studies to answer that question.

ESA's Director General on Apollo 11 anniversary

[ESA Press Release - 20.07.2009]
ESA's Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain discusses the significance of the Apollo anniversary and of continuing lunar exploration.

Forty years ago, man first set foot on the Moon. What did that signify?

Back then, it meant that US technology was stronger than Soviet technology, because it was the US flag that was planted on the Moon. But today, I think we can see this in a totally different light. The fact that it was a US flag is no longer what matters most.

Exploring the Moon, Discovering Earth

Earth-rise seen from Apollo 8. Credits: NASA.

[NASA Science Article - 17.07.2009]
Forty years ago, Apollo astronauts set out on a daring adventure to explore the Moon. They ended up discovering their own planet.

How do you discover Earth … by leaving it? It all started with a single photograph:

Apollo 8 was the first crewed Saturn V launch and the first time humans were placed in lunar orbit. Mission plans called for the astronauts to photograph possible landing sites for future missions. Before this, only robotic probes had taken images of the Moon's far side.

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