Trond Krovel's blog

Proposal opportunity: NASA Lunar Science Institute

NASA Lunar Science Institute. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 29.05.2008]
On June 2, 2008, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in cooperation with the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), is releasing a Cooperative Agreement Notice (NNH08ZDA008C) soliciting proposals for the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI). Proposers will be required to clearly articulate an innovative, interdisciplinary, lunar research program, together with plans to advance the full scope of NLSI objectives as defined in the Institute’s Mission Statement (see NLSI website at ). Proposals may address science of the Moon, on the Moon, and from the Moon, including objectives that meet NASA’s future lunar exploration needs. NASA anticipates making $8-10M per year available for this selection, leading to 5 to 7 awards at least one of which will be focused on exploration objectives. Awards will be for 4 years duration.

Common Spacecraft Bus for Lunar Explorer Missions

LADEE model. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 01.06.2008]
NASA will include the Modular Common Spacecraft Bus in the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission. Watch a video of researchers testing the prototype compressed air propulsion system in a hover flight demonstration.

Usually space missions require unique spacecraft that are custom built for hundreds of millions of dollars, but an innovative Modular Common Spacecraft Bus will allow NASA to launch more missions for less money. By using a modular platform NASA will no longer need to “reinvent the wheel” for each mission and leveraging previous R&D further reduces design cost. The spacecraft is roughly one tenth the price of a conventional unmanned mission and could be used to land on the moon, orbit Earth, or rendezvous with asteroids. It was not easy to get NASA headquarters to believe in the project, but when high-ranking NASA officials saw a flight test, they were impressed enough to include the team in an $80 million dollar mission to the moon, called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).

NASA Lunar Art Contest Winners Announced

[NASA Press Release - 30.05.2008]
A fanciful vision of a lunar traffic jam won the first annual NASA Lunar Art Contest sponsored by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

A work by Justin Burns, a sophomore at the University of Memphis, depicts a cartoon-like motorcyclist on her air cushioned bike leading a long line of traffic in a tube stretching across the otherwise barren lunar landscape. A city under a dome stands in the background.

NASA Seeks Ideas, Hosts Meeting on Lunar Surface Systems Concepts

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

[NASA Press Release - 29.05.2008]
On June 6, NASA will release a broad agency announcement soliciting lunar surface systems concept study proposals to help the agency develop plans for a return to the moon by 2020.

NASA's Constellation Program is inviting interested institutions, including industry and academia, to attend a discussion of the announcement on June 6 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H Street, NW, Washington. Organizations interested in submitting proposals are encouraged to attend the information session.

NASA Invites Media to Observe Tests of Lunar Rovers and Spacesuits

NASA's new lunar truck prototype. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 28.05.2008]
News media are invited to a trek on the moon -- or at least an earthly approximation of one.

Robots, rovers and lunar planners from NASA centers across the country will gather at Moses Lake, Wash., in June to perform a series of field tests based on mission-related activities for NASA's planned return to the moon by 2020. A media day will be held June 10 to give reporters a chance to observe the demonstrations.

JAXA and NHK releases HD videos from Kaguya

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

JAXA and NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Company, has recently released HD videos of Earth-rise and -set from the moon. The videos are available in 1280x720 pixel resolution are are each about a minute long.

The download page is currently in Japanese only, but you should be able to view the videos by clicking on the icon saying "2 Mbps" below the topmost images. Two videos are currently available, and two more will be available soon.

Exhaling for Exploration: Scientists Test Lunar Breathing System

CAMRAS volunteers. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 08.05.2008]
Imagine yourself hip-to-hip, shoulder-to-shoulder, inside a room the size of a walk-in closet for eight hours with five people you just met. Does that make you sweat? Or maybe make your breathing a little more animated?

For three weeks, 23 volunteers dedicated time to do just that -- sweat and breathe -- inside a test chamber so NASA scientists at Johnson Space Center in Houston could measure the amount of moisture and carbon dioxide absorbed by a new system being developed for future space vehicles. The system is designed to control carbon dioxide and humidity inside a crew capsule to make air breathable and living space more comfortable.

Send Your Name to the Moon With New Lunar Mission

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 01.05.2008]
NASA invites people of all ages to join the lunar exploration journey with an opportunity to send their names to the moon aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft.

The Send Your Name to the Moon Web site enables everyone to participate in the lunar adventure and place their names in orbit around the moon for years to come. Participants can submit their information at, print a certificate and have their name entered into a database. The database will be placed on a microchip that will be integrated onto the spacecraft. The deadline for submitting names is June 27, 2008.

The Moon and the Magnetotail

The magnetosphere and the magnetotail around Earth. Credits: NASA

[NASA Science Feature - 17.04.2008]
Behold the full Moon. Ancient craters and frozen lava seas lie motionless under an airless sky of profound quiet. It's a slow-motion world where even a human footprint may last millions of years. Nothing ever seems to happen there.


Wrong. NASA-supported scientists have realized that something does happen every month when the Moon gets a lashing from Earth's magnetic tail.

New NASA Moon Mission Begins Integration of Science Instruments

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 16.04.2008]
Several instruments that will help NASA characterize the moon's surface have been installed on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The powerful equipment will bring the moon into sharper focus and reveal new insights about the celestial body nearest Earth.

Engineers and technicians on the LRO Integration and Test Team work almost around the clock in a clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to ready the spacecraft for testing and eventual launch later this year. "The spacecraft really is coming together now," said Cathy Peddie, LRO deputy project manager at Goddard. "We are in the space assembly homestretch and making solid progress. You can begin to see what LRO will look like in all of its glory."

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