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Moon

Space

Japan wants to take autonomous construction extraterrestrial

With one eye on its aging population, Japan is already starting to test the waters with automated construction technologies. Members of its robotic workforce currently in action include remotely-controlled bulldozers, AI-assisted control systems and even drones. Now the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is looking to take this technology to a place where there are even less able-bodied workers, the undeveloped plains of the Moon and Mars.Read More

Space Feature

Leap into the lunar unknown: Fifty years since the landmark launch of Surveyor 1

Space travel can still be dramatic in 2016, but it's a cakewalk compared to half a century ago. Today marks 50 years since the unmanned Surveyor I probe lifted off from Cape Canaveral, and when it landed in the Oceanus Procellarum on June 2, 1966, it was more than the first US soft landing on the Moon, it was a leap into the unknown. Launched at the height of the Space Race and the depth of the Cold War, the stakes for the first of seven Surveyor missions were incredibly high, as NASA wrestled with untried technologies and questions about the basic nature of the Moon that could make or break any hope of a manned landing.Read More

Space

Starlight observation of Enceladus' plumes uncovers fresh mystery

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has used the light of a faraway star to observe the vast cryovolcanic eruption taking place on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Captured at a distant point in its orbit relative to the gas giant, Enceladus' tiger stripe vents behaved in a way that will force astronomers to rethink their current models regarding the enigmatic moon's internal plumbing.Read More

Space

Hubble discovers new moon in our Solar System

A team of astronomers has announced the discovery of a new moon located in the far reaches of our Solar System, orbiting the little-known dwarf planet Makemake. Tentatively designated S/2015 (136472), or MK 2 for short, this newest addition to our little patch of the Milky Way could shed light on the enigmatic nature of minor planets traversing the Kuiper Belt.Read More

Space

The stuff of stars found in lunar soil from Apollo missions

When several of the Apollo missions returned from the moon between 1969 and 1972, they brought back samples of the lunar soil. New research into some of those samples has revealed that those missions also brought back something else – the remnants of a star that died near our solar system about two million years ago.Read More

Space

Prototype moon buggy saved from junkyard goes to auction

When the Apollo 15 mission landed on the moon in July 1971, it took with it the first ever vehicle to be driven by humans on another world; the lunar roving vehicle (LRV). In the long and complex history prior to that event, however, NASA commissioned the construction of a range of test vehicles for the Apollo program, many of which were eventually scrapped once their experimental use was concluded. One such vehicle – a mid-1960s LRV prototype – ended up in the hands of a junkyard dealer who decided not to break it down for scrap but, instead, held on to it for some years. "Rediscovered" late in 2015, the long-lost prototype is now headed for auction where it is expected to fetch at least US$125,000. Read More

Space

Zeiss telephoto lens used on Apollo 15 up for auction

In October 2015, Boston-based RR Auction set a new record for astronaut memorabilia when the only privately-owned watch to be worn on Moon sold for US$1.6 million. This watch, which was flown on Apollo 15 in 1972, is now followed to the auction block by a Zeiss telephoto lens from the same mission. The Zeiss Tele-Tessar 500mm f/8 lens by Carl Zeiss AG was used by Mission Commander David R Scott with a Hasselblad camera body to set a new standard of photography on manned lunar missions and is expected to fetch around half a million dollars.Read More

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