Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Moon

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

Buzz Aldrin went without the option of 3D printing spare parts out of lunar materials (Pho...

Researchers at Washington State University have successfully 3D printed basic shapes with simulated moon rock, offering the first glimpse of a future in which off world explorers or colonists may be able to fabricate parts and components composed of lunar or Martian surface matter.  Read More

The Sun and Moon Watch replaces numbers with visual representations of day and night

In the 17th century, a period of experimentation began into how best to represent time. It was during this period of innovation that "Sun and Moon" watches – which literally showed the passing of time with moving images of these celestial bodies – became popular. The Sun and Moon Watch from Mr Jones Watches is a revival of this design, eschewing the familiar segmented face with hands and numerals showing the exact hour and minute in favor of visual representations of day and night.  Read More

The ESA Lunar Lander deploying experiments

This week, the European space technology company Astrium completed its Phase B1 study of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Lunar Landing Project. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the mission to land a spacecraft on the south pole of the Moon in 2019. That spacecraft would test new technologies, and explore an area of the lunar surface that scientists believe may contain deposits of ice in the permanently shadowed craters.  Read More

The Polaris lunar water prospecting robot prototyple

Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spin-off company of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), has debuted its full-size flight prototype of its Polaris lunar water-prospecting robot. Polaris is specially designed to work in the permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles. Scheduled to be sent to the Moon using a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the solar-powered rover is a contender in the US$20 million Google Lunar X Prize and is tasked with seeking ice deposits that could be used by future colonists.  Read More

TALISE is a proposed aquatic probe intended to sail across a lake on Saturn's largest moon...

Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, and it’s said to be one of the most Earth-like celestial bodies in the Solar System. It has a thick atmosphere, and is covered with a network of seas, lakes and rivers – albeit ones made up of liquid hydrocarbons instead of water. Now, a team of scientists are proposing sending a boat-like probe to Titan, that would travel across its largest lake.  Read More

Lobate scarps (a type of cliff) on the moon can be viewed in 3D thanks to NASA's LRO (Phot...

It’s time to pull out the old red/cyan 3D glasses for these anaglyphs created with high-resolution stereo images beamed back from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Having revealed the fate of the Apollo lunar flags earlier this year, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) is now enabling the creation of anaglyphs to bring the third dimension to craters, volcanic flows, lava tubes and tectonic features on the lunar surface.  Read More

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