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Moon

Artist's concept of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (Image: NASA)

NASA has released images and findings from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which witnessed the impact of NASA's twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) spacecraft as they struck the Moon near the North Pole in a controlled impact on Dec.17, 2012. The unmanned orbiter sent back before and after images of the impact sites and used its Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument to study the plume of dust and gas thrown up by the double impact, producing new insights into the processes going on in the interior of the Moon.  Read More

The proposed SinterHab moon base would consist of bubble-like compartments coated in a pro...

The race to build a manned research station on the moon has been slowly picking up steam in recent years, with several developed nations actively studying a variety of construction methods. In just the past few months, the European Space Agency revealed a design involving 3D-printed structures and the Russian Federal Space Agency announced plans for a moon base by 2037. Now international design agency, Architecture Et Cetera (A-ETC), has thrown its hat into the ring with a proposal for SinterHab, a moon base consisting of bubble-like compartments coated in a protective layer of melted lunar dust.  Read More

The RIMRES project combines the hexapod CREX (red robot at middle) and its transporter, SH...

While Japan is gearing up to send a miniature humanoid robot to the International Space Station, the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center and the ZARM (Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity) are working on a pair of robots that may one day help explore craters on the Moon in search of water ice. The RIMRES (Reconfigurable Integrated Multi Robot Exploration System) project combines a six-legged robot that can be picked up and moved with a faster wheeled transporter.  Read More

A research consortium set up by the European Space Agency is looking into the possibility ...

London-based international architectural firm Foster + Partners has designed some pretty impressive structures over the past several years, including the Virgin Galactic spaceport, Apple’s “spaceship” campus, and the Kuwait International Airport. Today, however, the firm announced its involvement in a project that’s considerably more ambitious than any of those – as part of a consortium set up by the European Space Agency (ESA), it will be exploring the possibility of 3D printing a lunar base for astronauts.  Read More

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

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