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Moon

— Space

China's Jade Rabbit Moon rover is on its way

By - December 3, 2013 6 Pictures
China's lunar probe Chang'e-3 was placed into an Earth-Moon transfer orbit on Monday by a Long March 3B launch vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. It has on board a lunar landing module, containing the Yu Tu (Jade Rabbit) lunar rover. If all continues to go well, on December 14 Chang'e-3 will land in Sinus Iridum on the Moon's northern hemisphere. It will be the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon in 37 years. Read More
— Science

Shimizu's Luna Ring to beam solar energy from the Moon

By - December 2, 2013 5 Pictures
A Japanese firm has come up with the idea of constructing an array of solar cells around the Moon's equator to harvest solar energy and beam it back to Earth. The Shimizu Corporation proposes creating a "Luna Ring" using materials derived from lunar soil along its 11,000-km (6,800-mile) equator. The plan involves starting with an array that's a few kilometers wide and eventually increasing that to around 400 km (250 miles). Read More
— Space

GRAIL mission casts new light on the "Man in the Moon"

By - November 12, 2013 4 Pictures
Sometimes great mysteries hang right over our heads. We’re so used to looking up and seeing the “Man in the Moon” that we often don’t realize that those familiar dark areas on the face of our nearest neighbor are part of a centuries old question that has yet to be answered. Many hypotheses have been put forward and now data from NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar orbiters has provided new insights into how the surface of the Moon formed and how its distinctive “seas” came to be. Read More
— Space

ESA concept robot video depicts the future of space exploration

By - October 26, 2013 12 Pictures
Robots have become a mainstay of space exploration. From rovers to chatty anime robots on the International Space Station, they have already proven their worth in many ways. But what will the space robots of the future look like? The European Space Agency has released a video showing advanced robotics designs for lunar and planetary exploration. The concepts include multifunction robots designed for both autonomous space exploration and to aid astronauts in working on other worlds. Read More
— Space

LADEE sets data transmission record from lunar orbit

By - October 23, 2013 23 Pictures
NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) experiment made history yesterday as it beamed data back to Earth from lunar orbit at previously unheard of speed for a space mission. Operating from the LADEE lunar orbiter, the LLCD used lasers to transmit data to Earth at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) as a demonstration of a technology that NASA hopes will one day not only keep up with the communications demands of future missions, but also greatly enhance their capabilities. Read More
— Space

LADEE probe heads Moonward despite early malfunction

By - September 8, 2013 32 Pictures
On Friday, NASA made a historic launch that sent an unmanned probe to the Moon to study something you could be forgiven for thinking doesn't exist: the Moon's atmosphere. At 11:27 PM EDT, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia atop a US Air Force Minotaur V launch vehicle provided by Orbital Sciences Corp. The unmanned probe is now on a 30-day journey to the Moon, where it will study the all but non-existent atmosphere of the satellite. Read More
— Science

NASA discovers that the Moon is much wetter than we thought

By - August 29, 2013 6 Pictures
Data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) aboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 probe has shown that there is water locked in mineral grains on the surface on our satellite's surface. Scientists had previously thought that small amounts of moisture were being generated by solar wind and other factors, but the latest findings are strong evidence that the Moon contains large quantities of its own "magmatic water" from deep within its core. Read More
— Space

NASA and ESA to communicate with lunar orbiter using lasers

By - July 31, 2013 9 Pictures
Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It’s a mature, reliable technology, but it’s reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter. Read More
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