Highlights from Interbike 2014

Moon

An image of the Mona Lisa has been beamed by laser to a probe orbiting the Moon

High art recently met high tech as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) received an image of the Mona Lisa via laser. Traveling about 240,000 miles (386,000 km), the image was sent to the probe in lunar orbit using a laser beamed from NASA’s Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging (NGSLR) station at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland as a demonstration of lasers as a deep-space communications tool.  Read More

The Moon and Jupiter as they might appear in a small telescope (Photo: Gregory H. Revara, ...

Owners of small telescopes, rejoice! For that matter, on the night of January 21 everyone else can also enjoy the sight of Jupiter and the Moon at nearly the same position on the celestial sphere. Here's our advice on how best to observe this – the closest approach of the Moon and Jupiter until 2026.  Read More

Russia is planning to launch probe Luna-Glob in 2015 as a first step toward building a ful...

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is planning to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2015, a first step toward the ambitious long-term plan to establish a robotic base on the surface of our largest satellite. The spacecraft, called Luna-Glob ("Moon globe"), will be followed by two more orbiters and two rovers that will study the lunar soil locally and collect samples of rocks and dust, bringing them back to Earth for analysis.  Read More

Still from the JPL GRAIL video (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a video transmitted by the GRAIL lunar orbiters during their final days. The dramatic footage was taken on December 14, 2012 as part of a final systems check before the twin spacecraft shut down their instruments in preparation for a controlled impact into a lunar mountain.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Keck asteroid capture mission (Image: Rick Sternbach / Keck Instit...

To paraphrase an old saying, if the astronaut can’t go to the asteroid, the the asteroid must come to the astronaut. In a study released by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, researchers outlined a mission to tow an asteroid into lunar orbit by 2025 using ion propulsion and a really big bag. The idea is to bring an asteroid close to Earth for easy study and visits by astronauts without the hazards and expense of a deep space mission.  Read More

The impact point of the GRAIL spacecraft (Image:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/ASU)

NASA’s two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft have struck the Moon in a controlled impact. At 5:28:46 EST (222846 GMT) Ebb, the first spacecraft, struck a mountain near the lunar North Pole. The second, Flow, hit about 20 seconds later. Because the impact occurred during a new moon, no images were available of the impact, though NASA was able to determine the time of the event by monitoring the moment that telemetry ended. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California provided live television and online commentary.  Read More

Artist's concept of the GRAIL spacecraft (Image: NASA)

At a press conference today, NASA confirmed that its two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) Spacecraft will crash into a lunar mountain next week. The controlled impact will occur on Monday, December 17 at approximately 5:28 p.m. EST (22:28 GMT). The impact area is at latitude 75.62° N, longitude 26.63° E near the lunar North Pole in the vicinity of Goldschmidt crater.  Read More

Artist's concept of a Golden Spike lunar lander

It was forty years ago this month that Apollo 17 took astronauts to the Moon for the last time. Since then, the satellite has only been visited periodically by unmanned probes, but that may change inside the next ten years. On Thursday, the day before the anniversary of Apollo 17’s launch, a new company called Golden Spike announced at the National Press Club that it would be sending commercial exploration missions to the Moon within a decade with a ticket price of US$750 million.  Read More

Variations in the lunar gravity field as measured by NASA's GRAIL mission (Image:  NASA/JP...

Data from NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) probes has been used to create the highest resolution gravity map yet of any body in the Solar System. The two washing machine-sized spacecraft acted as a 225-kilometer (140 mi) long gravity detector for studying the interior composition of the Moon.  Read More

Rather more terrestrial vegetables (Photo: sarsmis/Shutterstock)

According to China's state press agency, Xinhua, the country's Astronaut Research and Training Center has just perfected a system that can be used to grow vegetables in a closed system. The technology could be used to sustain astronauts with a source of food and oxygen in a possible future base on the Moon.  Read More

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