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Moon


— Space

Lunar detour could lighten the launch load for manned missions to Mars

Early last year, researchers at MIT floated the idea of "gas stations" in space that have the potential to cut the costs of future missions to the Moon considerably. Now a new study out of MIT says that, although possibly a little out of the way, the Moon would make a worthwhile refueling pit stop for manned missions to Mars by reducing the mass of a launch from Earth by 68 percent.

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— Space

SpaceIL buys "ticket to the moon" for Google XPrize

An Israeli team has become the first to produce a "verified launch contract" as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. To win the competition, privately funded teams must land an exploratory robot on the moon by Dec. 31, 2017. SpaceIL's lunar effort would become the first private mission to the moon, as well the first from Israel.

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— Space

Moon Express and Rocket Lab team up for 2017 lunar mission

Space startup Moon Express has signed a contract with Rocket Lab to help carry out three lunar missions starting in 2017. Described as the first private contract between two companies to carry out a lunar landing, the agreement will see Rocket Lab provide launch services using its Electron rocket system for the Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander as part of Moon Express's attempt win the Google Lunar Xprize.

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— Space

Diminutive Lunar IceCube satellite to scan Moon for water and other resources

Recently, NASA has been looking at CubeSats as a way of carrying out economical deep space missions. One of the first of these may be shoebox-sized satellite called the Lunar IceCube, which is designed to look for water ice and other resources on the Moon. Tentatively aimed to launch on the first Orion mission scheduled to fly by 2018, it is intended to not only uncover materials for future deep-space missions and lunar colonization, but also as a technology demonstrator for a new class of interplanetary probes.

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