Trond Krovel's blog

The Orbit of Chandrayaan-1 Raised

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

[ISRO Press Release - 20.05.2009]
After the successful completion of all the major mission objectives, the orbit of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which was at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface since November 2008, has now been raised to 200 km. The orbit raising manoeuvres were carried out between 0900 and 1000 hrs IST on May 19, 2009. ?The spacecraft in this higher altitude will enable further studies on orbit perturbations, gravitational field variation of the Moon and also enable imaging lunar surface with a wider swath.

NASA Details Plans for Lunar Exploration Robotic Missions

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 21.05.2009]
NASA's return to the moon will get a boost in June with the launch of two satellites that will return a wealth of data about Earth's nearest neighbor. On Thursday, the agency outlined the upcoming missions of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS. The spacecraft will launch together June 17 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA Announces Briefing about Satellite Missions to the Moon

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 19.05.2009]
NASA will hold a briefing about two upcoming lunar missions scheduled to launch in June that will begin a journey to better understand the moon. A briefing with members of the mission and science teams will be held Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m. EDT, in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street, SW, in Washington. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site.

NASA Book Chronicles Apollo Missions Through Astronaut Photos

Lunex honorary board member Harrison Schmitt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 18.05.2009]
"Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts" is a new book produced by NASA and Abrams Books that provides a unique perspective of the historic program that took people to the moon nearly four decades ago. The publication chronicles Apollo missions 7 through 17 using photographs of the flights selected by each of the surviving Apollo astronauts.

Between 1967 and 1972, 29 astronauts left Earth to explore the nearest celestial body, our moon. To celebrate that achievement, NASA and Abrams will publish "Apollo" in June, in advance of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's first lunar landing on July 20, 1969.

White Label Space Joins Google Lunar X PRIZE

[White Label Space Press Release - 08.05.2009]
Team White Label Space was formed back in early 2008 by a group of experienced space professionals inspired by the challenge of the Google Lunar X PRIZE. With a strong background in space engineering and knowledge of the costs involved, the group realized that there were numerous global companies that could finance a Google Lunar X PRIZE mission with less than 10% of their yearly advertising expenditure.

LRO to Help Astronauts Survive in Infinity

Artist impression of lunar outpost. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 16.04.2009]
Space seems exotic, forbidding, and remote, but imagine trying to survive winter without a heated shelter or warm clothing. Our ancestors developed these technologies because they needed room to grow; without them, we would still be confined to narrow areas along the equator, but with them, we could live anywhere in the world. With the right technology, space is just another place for people to live.

Join STEREO and Explore Gravitational "Parking Lots" That May Hold Secret of Moon's Origin

Artist impression of STEREO. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 09.04.2009]
Two places on opposite sides of Earth may hold the secret to how the moon was born. NASA's twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft are about to enter these zones, known as the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points, each centered about 93 million miles away along Earth's orbit.

As rare as free parking in New York City, L4 and L5 are among the special points in our solar system around which spacecraft and other objects can loiter. They are where the gravitational pull of a nearby planet or the sun balances the forces from the object's orbital motion. Such points closer to Earth are sometimes used as spaceship "parking lots", like the L1 point a million miles away in the direction of the sun. They are officially called Libration points or Lagrangian points after Joseph-Louis Lagrange, an Italian-French mathematician who helped discover them.

Beyond Apollo: Moon Tech Takes a Giant Leap

The ATHLETE rover climbing a hill. Credits: NASA

[Science@NASA Release - 04.04.2009]
The flight computer onboard the Lunar Excursion Module, which landed on the Moon during the Apollo program, had a whopping 4 kilobytes of RAM and a 74 KB "hard drive." In places, the craft's outer skin was as thin as two sheets of aluminum foil.

It worked well enough for Apollo. Back then, astronauts stayed on the lunar surface for only a few days at a time. But when NASA sends people back to the Moon starting around 2020, the plan will be much more ambitious — and the hardware is going to need a major upgrade.

Mt. Redoubt Gives Alaskans a Taste of the Moon

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

[NASA Press Release - 03.04.2009]
"It's very fine but angular – the sharp edges make it feel gritty and abrasive."

"It can cause short circuits and failure of electronic components ... and physical damage to equipment."

"It's much more abrasive than sand....scratches anything that comes in contact...."

"...a real nuisance....stuck to everything – equipment, instruments,...likely to penetrate seals,....plugs bolt holes, fouls tools, ....."

Newly Restored "Picture of the Century": Lunar Orbiter 2's View of Copernicus

Earth-rise from Lunar Orbiter 1. Credits: NASA/LOIRP

[LOIRP Press Release - 21.03.2009]
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has released another iconic image taken during the Lunar Orbiter program in the 1960's. This image, which shows the dramatic landscape within the crater Copernicus was often referred to as the "picture of the century" by many people at the time of its original public release in 1966.

This image was taken by the Lunar Orbiter 2 spacecraft at 7:05 p.m. EST on 24 November 1966 from an altitude of 28.4 miles above the lunar surface, 150 miles due south of Copernicus. At the time this image was originally released most views of the lunar surface involved looking straight down. Little, if any, sense of the true elevation of lunar surface features was usually available. This photo changed that perception by showing the Moon to be a world with tremendous topography - some of it Earth-like, much of it decidedly un-earth-like.

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