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Waspie_Dwarf

Exploration Of The Moon

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MID
...Follow-up experiments will use JSC-1a lunar simulant, one of the "true fakes" developed from terrestrial ingredients to mimic the qualities of moon soil.

...I hope that HBs aren't carefully reading this thread. Can you imagine what sort of "evidence" JSC-1a could be considered???

;)

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Waspie_Dwarf
...I hope that HBs aren't carefully reading this thread. Can you imagine what sort of "evidence" JSC-1a could be considered???

;)

I thought more or less exactly the same thing when I posted the article on "true fakes" (HERE). Mind you "carefully" reading would be a nice change, most (if not all) hoax theory "evidence" is based on misunderstandings and half truths.

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MID
..."carefully" reading would be a nice change, most (if not all) hoax theory "evidence" is based on misunderstandings and half truths.

A truer statement has rarely been uttered!

:tu:

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Waspie_Dwarf
Back to the Moon: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project


Of the two luminaries that dominate our sky, it is the moon that is of particular interest to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project. The LRO will travel to the moon in late fall 2008, mapping the surface to help pave the way for humans to return. It will help prepare us for extended surface exploration on the moon and for subsequent missions to Mars and other distant destinations. Lunar surface exploration will help us to practice living, working, and gathering science data before we venture into riskier territory.

linked-image
Image above: Artist's rendering of the LRO spacecraft in orbit.
Click image to enlarge
Credit: NASA


The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will take the first strides in researching a complex habitat -- a hostile environment without atmosphere or clouds, with daytime temperatures reaching as high as 250 degrees Fahrenheit (123 degrees Celsius) and as low as minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit (233 degrees Celsius), and sunlight lasting two weeks. The spacecraft will identify the volatile terrain so we can land safely. It should also be able to identify water on the surface, if it sees it.

The spacecraft being built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will include six instruments and a technology demonstration. The objective is to collect the highest resolution and most comprehensive data set ever returned from the moon, or gathered by any planetary mission, to help achieve NASA’s goal of returning human explorers safely to the moon. The data gathered by instruments on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will provide more information than all six Apollo surface missions managed to produce. While the Apollo missions focused on gaining science from the band around the moon’s equator, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will circle the poles. It will spend at least one year in low, polar orbit, with all the instruments working simultaneously to collect detailed information about the lunar environment. Data sets will be deposited in the publicly accessible Planetary Data System within six months of its primary mission completion.

Instruments

CRaTER (Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation) will investigate the effects of galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles on tissue-equivalent plastics. CRaTER will characterize the deep space radiation environment and provide a baseline to the amount of radiation humans could be exposed to.

DLRE (Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment) will measure lunar surface temperature profiles. DLRE measurements will characterize thermal environments for habitability, determine rock abundances at landing sites by mapping nighttime surface temperatures, and map variants in silicate mineralogy. DLRE will chart the temperature of the entire lunar surface to identify cold traps and potential ice deposits.

LAMP (Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project) will map the entire lunar surface in the far ultraviolet, providing images of permanently shadowed regions that are illuminated only by starlight. LAMP will search for surface ice and frost in the polar regions. LAMP is first demonstration of the same technology used by military night vision that can be applied to space exploration.

LEND (Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector) will provide global mapping of the hydrogen content on the lunar surface. LEND measurements will also help characterize the neutron component of the lunar radiation environment. These measurements will also be used to search for evidence of water ice on the lunar surface.

LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) will measure the precise distance between the spacecraft and the lunar surface. LOLA measurements will determine the global topography of the lunar surface at high resolution, landing site slopes, surface roughness, and possible polar surface ice in shadowed regions. LOLA will be utilized by Goddard Space Flight Center’s ground station laser ranging system to monitor the spacecraft orbit. This represents a historic first in that a laser ranging system is utilized to routinely monitor a satellite in a non-terrestrial orbit.

LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera) will acquire targeted narrow angle images of the lunar surface capable of resolving meter-scale features to support landing site selection. LROC will also provide wide angle images to characterize polar illumination conditions that may identify potential resources.

Mini-RF is a technology demonstration of a miniaturized Single Aperture Radar capable of measurements at two different wavelengths. Mini-RF’s primary goal is to search for subsurface water ice deposits. In addition, it will take high-resolution images of permanently shadowed regions.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled to launch aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in 2008. It will take approximately four days to enter the moon’s orbit. Once the probe arrives at the moon, it will spend a year mapping the polar regions from an average altitude of approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers).

Be sure to follow this project from the ground up and beyond launch day by peering into a series of articles that will highlight its completed milestones and mission status updates. You will come to understand the main components of its development and will be enthralled by the ingenuity and diligence of the team at work in making history.

Related Link:

+ LRO Project website

Natalie Simms
Goddard Space Flight Center


Source: NASA/GSFC - News

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Waspie_Dwarf

LRO Assembly Progress

April 24,2007 - On its way to assembly, LRO has recently made an important pit stop to a place called FlatSat. Before any of the electrical components are assembled on the spacecraft bus, they must be checked and double-checked to assure that they can communicate with one another. That is where FlatSat comes in. The name "FlatSat" is a shortened version of just what it sounds like - flat satellite. All of the electronic components are laid out and hooked together on a long table and attached electrically like they will be on the satellite. FlatSat is operated and monitored using the Integrated Test and Operations System (ITOS). This is the same system that will be used during the mission at the Mission Operations Center. During the integration process, FlatSat is used to write and integrate test procedures for the components onboard LRO. One by one, simulators of the individual spacecraft components and instruments for LRO are being attached. Currently, the engineering test unit (ETU) of the power system electronics (PSE) is attached to FlatSat. Also, the LAMP, Mini-RF, LEND, and Diviner instruments have a simulator at FlatSat. Soon the simulator for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) will be added. Why bother with such an exercise? As part of the assembly process, each of the individual components involved with the spacecraft must be tested. FlatSat serves as a way to test procedures and reduce the risk of something going wrong with the electrical components once LRO is assembled. Once LRO is launched, mission operations will use FlatSat to test commands before sending them to the spacecraft.

In other news, assembly of LRO instruments has begun. Images of each of the instruments in their initial phases, along with LRO propulsion, attitude control system (ACS) components, and an LRO mock-up can be found on the LRO website:

+ View Hardware Gallery

linked-image

Dave Everett, LRO systems engineer, and others take a look at

the LRO mock-up in Building 5

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO

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Waspie_Dwarf
Oresme: Signs from the Lunar Heavy Bombardment


18 May 2007

linked-image
Click image for high resolution version
This image mosaic was obtained by the AMIE camera onboard the SMART-1 spacecraft. The most prominent feature is the 76 km crater Oresme that originated in the Nectarian age. It is located on the far-side of the moon, across the northwest part of lunar South Pole-Aitken Giant Impact Basin.

Credits: ESA/SMART-1 and SPACE-X, Space Exploration Institute


This image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the Oresme crater on the Moon.

AMIE obtained this picture on 30 August 2006 - only 4 days before SMART-1’s final impact on the lunar surface. It was taken from a distance of 1 100 kilometres over the surface, with a ground resolution of 110 metres per pixel.

Oresme is located on the Moon’s far side at 42.3° South and 169° East, measuring 76 kilometres in diameter, north to south. To the northwest, it borders the Mare Ingenii, and to the south-west, the Chrétien crater.

Oresme is framed by a partially bumpy, crooked outer rim, with a flat interior, distinguished from the geological formations outside it. Surrounded by a rough and uneven area, the floor of Oresme is almost a vacant plane, marked only by a few tiny craterlets.

The rim is interrupted twice by other craters: to the southeast by the satellite crater 'Oresme K' and by a smaller one along the northern rim.

Oresme was carved into the surface in early lunar history, approximately four thousand million years ago. Most of the giant impact basins on the Moon were formed during this period, named the Nectarian age. There is a discussion among scientists whether this corresponds to a spike in the Lunar Late Heavy Bombardment or to a monotonic decrease.

“Some theoreticians believe that this bombardment period was caused by comets perturbed by the formation of Uranus and Neptune, while others interpret it as leftover from a population of planet embryos on highly inclined orbits or main belt asteroids” says SMART-1 Project scientist Bernard Foing.

“The lunar surface is a history book where we can study scars from this bombardment. It can teach us not only about the accretion processes that formed rocky planets, but also about the effects of collisions during the period of emergence of life on Earth”.

The crater is named after Nicolas Oresme (1323 -1382), a physicist and astronomer who also had a wide influence as a philosopher and precursor of modern sciences.


Contact information

Bernard H. Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project Scientist
Email: Bernard.Foing@esa.int

Jean-Luc Josset, AMIE Principal Investigator
SPACE-X Space Exploration Institute
Email: jean-luc.josset@space-x.ch

Source: ESA - SMART 1

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Waspie_Dwarf
Blue Moon over North America


May 30, 2007: At 9:04 pm Eastern Daylight Time on May 31st, the full moon over North America will turn blue.

Not really. But it will be the second full moon of May and, according to folklore, that makes it a Blue Moon.

linked-image
Above: The first full moon of May 2007, photographed May 2nd by Tony Wilder of Wisconsin. May's second full Moon on May 31st will probably look as gray as this one, although according to folklore, it is "blue."

f you told a person in Shakespeare's day that something happens "once in a Blue Moon" they would attach no astronomical meaning to the statement. Blue moon simply meant rare or absurd, like making a date for "the Twelfth of Never."

But "meaning is a slippery substance," writes Philip Hiscock of the Dept. of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland. "The phrase 'Blue Moon' has been around a long time, well over 400 years, and during that time its meaning has shifted."

Blue Moon?The modern definition sprang up in the 1940s. In those days the Maine Farmer's Almanac offered a definition of Blue Moon so convoluted even professional astronomers struggled to understand it. It involved factors such as ecclesiastical dates of Easter and Lent, tropical years, and the timing of seasons according to the dynamical mean sun. Aiming to explain blue moons to the layman, Sky & Telescope published an article in 1946 entitled "Once in a Blue Moon." The author James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955) cited the 1937 Maine almanac and opined that the "second [full moon] in a month, so I interpret it, is called Blue Moon."

This was not correct, but at least it could be understood. And thus the modern Blue Moon was born. A detailed account of the story may be found here.

Surveying the last four centuries of literature and folklore, "I have counted six different meanings which have been carried by the term," recounts Hiscock. In song, for instance, Blue Moons are a symbol of loneliness; when love conquers all, the Blue Moon turns gold. (See old Elvis records for more information.) "This makes discussion of the term a little complicated," he says.

One complication is that the Moon can turn genuinely blue, as shown in this photo taken by Tom King of Watauga, Texas:

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Above: A blue Moon photographed in October 2003 by Tom King of Watauga, Texas. "Here is a picture from a different night provided as a sanity check to assure you that my moon shots do not always have this blue hue," says King.

"I had never paid any real attention to the term 'Blue Moon' until one October evening in 2003," he recalls. "I had my telescope set up in the backyard and the moon began rising in the east with a strange blue tint I had not seen before."

The cause of the blue was probably tiny droplets of water in the air. "The air was damp and heavy with moisture," notes King. When water droplets are about 1 micron (one millionth of a meter) in diameter, they strongly scatter red and green light while allowing other colors to pass. A white moonbeam passing through such a misty cloud turns blue.

Clouds of ice crystals, fine-grained sand, volcanic ash or smoke from forest fires can have the same effect. "The key," notes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley, "is that the airborne particles should all be of very similar size, a micron or so in diameter." Only then do they scatter the correct wavelengths of moonlight and act as a blue filter.

There are other reasons for blue Moons, he notes. "Our eyes have automatic 'white balances' just like digital cameras. Go outdoors from a cozy cabin lit by an oil lamp (yellow light) and the Moon will appear blue until your eyes adjust."

What kind of Blue Moon will you see this week? There's only one way to find out!

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

____________________________________________

More to the story...


What about Europe? Because of time zones, this week's full Moon occurs over Europe on June 1st rather than May 31st. In Europe, therefore, it is the month of June which has two full Moons, and a Blue Moon on June 30th. In North America, May has two full Moons and a Blue moon on May 31st.

A note of irony: Blue moons that really exist are wildly unpredictable. Who can say when a volcano will spew perfectly-proportioned ash into the stratosphere? Or when a Texas mist of micron-sized water droplets will waft in front of the rising moon?

The absurd blue moons of folklore, on the other hand, no longer take anyone by surprise. Full moons are separated by 29.5 day intervals--the moon's synodic period. By counting out synodic intervals, and checking to see when a pair of full moons falls into a single 30- or 31-day month, we can easily and precisely figure out when the next blue moon is due: Dec. 31, 2009. Mark your calendar.

"This new blue moon has a kind of technical meaning which most of the earlier ones lacked," notes Hiscock. "Perhaps as a result it will last a whole lot longer."

Folklore of the Blue Moon -- by Philip Hiscock of the Dept. of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Blue Moons and Lavender Suns -- (Alaska Science Forum)
What's a Blue Moon? According to the editors of Sky & Telescope, the definition of "blue moon" as the second full Moon in a month is a mistake.

NASA's Future: The Vision for Space Exploration

Source: Science@NASA

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telstar

I heard this story on NPR last evening, and was working on a similar post when I came across yours... :lol:

Interesting linkies - here's another:

NPR Transcript

Cheers,

Telstar

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Waspie_Dwarf
Shine on, shine on, climate monitoring station:
Moon-based observatories proposed


The University of Michigan press release is reproduced below:

May 23, 2007

linked-image

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Poets may see "a face of plaintive sweetness" or "a cheek like beryl stone" when they look at the moon, but Shaopeng Huang sees something else altogether: the ideal location for a network of observatories dedicated to studying climate change on Earth.

Using data from an Apollo 15 experiment whose original intent was thwarted by unanticipated lunar surface conditions, the University of Michigan geophysicist recently showed that surface temperatures on the near side of the moon accurately record important information about Earth's climate system.

Based on his analysis, recently published online in Advances in Space Research, Huang is calling for an international effort to develop and deploy monitoring stations on the moon for the study of terrestrial climate change.

Global climate change is driven by an imbalance between incoming energy from the sun and outgoing energy from Earth. Without understanding the climate system's inputs and outputs—its so-called energy budget—it is impossible to tease out the relative contributions of natural and human-induced influences and to predict future climate, Huang said.

But detecting changes in the energy budget is difficult with existing ground-based and space-borne technologies, he noted. Fortunately, instruments left behind by the Apollo 15 astronauts—all U-M alumni, incidentally—inadvertently provided just the necessary measurements.

"One of the main scientific objectives of the Apollo 15 mission was to drill two boreholes about three meters into the lunar soil and insert specially designed probes," Huang said. "The point was to see how temperature varies with depth, in order to calculate the heat flow outward from the interior of the moon." But drilling in the moon's powdery soil, or regolith, turned out to be much more difficult than expected.

"The Apollo 15 crew overspent their precious time on the moon for this particular task, yet could only penetrate a little more than half the depth they wanted to reach. When the probes were inserted into the boreholes, several thermometers designed for measuring subsurface temperature ended up measuring surface temperature instead."

Consequently, NASA acquired 41 months-worth of records of the moon's surface temperature.

Originally, Huang was interested in the moon borehole data because he and U-M colleague Henry Pollack have been using data from holes bored into Earth to reconstruct Earth's surface temperature history. He thought they might be able to apply techniques developed for that project to reconstruct the moon's surface temperature history. But when he examined the moon data set, he realized it could provide valuable information on Earth's climate shifts.

On the near side of the airless moon, where Apollo 15 landed, surface temperature is controlled by solar radiation during daytime and energy radiated from Earth at night. Huang showed that due to an amplifying effect, even weak radiation from Earth produces measurable temperature changes in the regolith. Further, his revisit of the data revealed distinctly different characteristics in daytime and nighttime lunar surface temperature variations.

This allowed him to uncover a lunar night-time warming trend from mid-1972 to late 1975, which was consistent with a global dimming of Earth that occurred over the same period and was due to a general decrease of sunlight over land surfaces. (Widespread ground-based radiation records from that period show that solar radiation reaching Earth's surface during that period decreased significantly, for reasons that are not completely understood.)

Huang's study demonstrated that signals from the energy budget of Earth's climate system are detectable on the moon and can be useful in monitoring and predicting climate change.

For that and other reasons, the moon is the perfect place for a system of observatories, Huang said. "As the sole natural satellite of Earth, the moon is an enduring platform without complications from atmosphere, hydrosphere or biosphere, and could provide records of Earth's radiation budget that would complement ground-based and man-made satellite records."

Huang would like to see his findings put to good use—and soon.

"Global warming on Earth is among the most profound scientific, social, economical and political challenges of our time," he said. "At the same time, countries around the world are racing to launch missions to the moon. The time could not be better to join forces to create a network of temperature and radiation observatories on the moon for the purpose of studying climate change on Earth."

Huang received funding for the study from the National Science Foundation and the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.


Related Links:

Shaopeng Huang

Advances in Space Research


Source: U-M press release

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Waspie_Dwarf
Japanese Moon Mission to be Called "KAGUYA"


June 6, 2007 Updated
"KAGUYA" selected as SELENE's nickname!

linked-image

The nickname for the lunar explorer SELENE, which was solicited from the general public, has been selected as the "KAGUYA." We appreciate the many applications we received.
In addition, a Special Web Site for the "KAGUYA /H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.13" will be open for the launch.


Source: JAXA - Hot Topics

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Waspie_Dwarf

The Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) press release is reproduced below:

Launch Day of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13)

June 13, 2007 (JST)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Mitsubishi Heavy Idustries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would like to announce that the launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) with the "KAGUYA" (Selonological and Engineering Explorer, SELENE) onboard was approved by the Space Activities Commission (SAC) as follows.

  • Scheduled date of launch : August 16 (Thursday), 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST)
  • Launch time : 9:30:48 a.m. (JST)
  • Launch windows : August 17 (Fri) through 23 (Thu), 2007 (JST), and September 13 (Thu) through 21 (Fri), 2007 (JST) (Launch time will be set for each day.)
  • Launch Site : Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mission website:

Index for 2007/6

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf
NASA Prepares for Performing New Science on the Moon


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:

June 21, 2007
Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726

RELEASE: 07-141

NASA Prepares for Performing New Science on the Moon


WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected proposals for future lunar science activities and established two new programs that will enhance research made possible by the Vision for Space Exploration.

The proposals and programs are part of an effort by NASA to develop new opportunities to conduct important science investigations during the planned renewal of human exploration of the moon.

In a highly competitive selection, NASA chose seven proposals from more than 70 submissions under the Lunar Sortie Science Opportunities (LSSO) Program. These newly funded efforts in the space science community will complement two new programs established in the Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington: the Lunar Advanced Science and Exploration Research (LASER) Program and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Participating Scientist Program.

The seven selected proposals will result in advanced development for simple, autonomous instrument packages deployed on the lunar surface by astronauts. Such "suitcase science" packages could open up a wide variety of research applications regarding the moon and the lunar environment.

Some of the funded efforts will help scientists understand the lunar dust that creates problems for astronauts on the moon. Other studies will provide a better understanding of the moon's interior, look for natural resources on the lunar surface and use lasers to provide precise information about the position of the moon and its features.

"The proposals we received show that the scientific community is excited about the opportunity to capitalize on the nation's planned lunar outpost. The moon has much to teach us about itself, the history of our solar system, and even the history of the sun. In the future, more and more scientists will be able to participate in lunar research as we focus attention on Earth's fascinating satellite," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Selected proposals are:

-- Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., William Banerdt, Principal Investigator (PI) "Autonomous Lunar Geophysical Experiment Package"

-- Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Slava Turyshev (PI) "Lunar Laser Transponder and Retroreflector Science"

-- Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., Daniel Glavin (PI) "Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith on the Moon using Mass Spectrometry"

-- Goddard Space Flight Center, Patrick Taylor (PI) "Seismology and Heat flow instrument package for Lunar Science and Hazards"

-- Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo., Donald Hassler (PI) "Lunar Radiation Environment and Regolith Shielding Experiment"

-- U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Fort Wainwright, Ark., Jerome Johnson (PI) "Lunar Suitcase Science: A Lunar Regolith Characterization Kit"

-- Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., Christian Grund (PI) "Autonomous Lunar Dust Observer"

Under the planned LASER program, proposals will be solicited for investigations to increase knowledge of the moon while also providing necessary information for humans to live and work there. Studies may include simulations and laboratory work to better understand the lunar environment and its hazards, such as dust and radiation. The program also will support analysis of existing lunar data, including the Apollo and robotic mission data archives, and work to understand the origin and evolution of the moon.

In the upcoming LRO Participating Scientist Program, NASA will select researchers to perform detailed investigations using instruments aboard the LRO spacecraft during its first years in lunar orbit. Proposals for both programs are due Sept. 7, 2007.

LRO is NASA's next orbital mission to the moon. Launch is planned in late 2008. It will orbit the moon for at least one year, providing data to accelerate opportunities for future science missions and human exploration.

Details on NASA's lunar research programs are available at:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 07-141

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Waspie_Dwarf
NASA Liquid-Mirror Telescope on Moon Might See Deeper Back in Time


The NASA/Ames Research Center press release is reproduced below:

June 21, 2007
John Bluck
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650-604-5026
E-mail: jbluck@mail.arc.nasa.gov

RELEASE: 07_36AR


NASA Liquid-Mirror Telescope on Moon Might See Deeper Back in Time


Someday, astronauts on the moon may pour liquid onto a disc-shaped mesh to make a huge mirror for a powerful telescope, according to a technical article just made public.

The liquid would include a silver-coated surface, and would be part of an optical-infrared telescope with a 66-foot (20-meter) to 328-foot (100 meter) aperture capable of observing objects 100 to 1,000 times fainter than the James Webb Space Telescope, the authors say. The technical paper will appear in the June 21, 2007, issue of the journal, Nature.

"In this case we have shown how the moon is ideal (for) using liquid mirror technology to build a telescope much larger than we can affordably build in space," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the technical paper. The lead author is Ermanno Borra, Laval University, Quebec, Canada. "Such telescopes, perhaps 100 meters in diameter can see back to the early phases of the universe after the Big Bang," Worden added.

The authors envision making lunar, infrared telescopes to study normal and dwarf galaxies.

"The lunar, liquid-mirror project was supported by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. It enabled a team of scientists including myself to show how the moon - our first target in the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) - might support astronomy," Worden explained. " We hope that this or similar possibilities will excite the scientific community about the opportunities contained within the VSE," Worden observed.

According to the article, an uncoated mirror would be carried to the moon in a drum that astronauts would empty into a rotating mesh, robotically unfolded like an umbrella.

"Surface tension would prevent the liquid from falling through the small holes of the mesh," the authors said.

The major advantages of liquid telescope mirrors include ease of shipping, assembling and maintenance, "which are far easier than for a solid mirror," the authors note.

In laboratory experiments, the researchers used a liquid made of 'ionic salts' that remains fluid at very low temperatures. The scientists deposited a fine layer of chromium particles on the liquid and then added a layer of silver particles. The researchers say that the reflectiveness of the liquid mirror is not yet adequate, but "it is now only a matter of technological improvement."

The authors say they will continue to experiment to develop more ways to make liquid mirrors. The researchers predict that the first lunar, liquid-mirror telescope will be built no earlier than 2020.

Borra received a grant from the Canadian Space Agency to conduct his studies. The other authors include: Omar Seddiki of Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Roger Angel and Daniel Eisenstein, both from the University of Arizona, Tucson; Paul Hickson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; and Kenneth Seddon, The Queen's University of Belfast, U.K.
- end -
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA/ARC Press Release 07_36AR

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Archosaur
RELEASE: 07_36AR

NASA Liquid-Mirror Telescope on Moon Might See Deeper Back in Time

Someday, astronauts on the moon may pour liquid onto a disc-shaped mesh to make a huge mirror for a powerful telescope, according to a technical article just made public.

The Moon also offers some great opportunities for space-based interferometry. Unlike satellites, a ground-based netowork doesn't need all of that fuel to maintain its formation.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
reduced size of quote.

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Lilly

Just the other day I reading about liquid mirror telescopes see link here. This is very cool stuff! B)

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Waspie_Dwarf
Just the other day I reading about liquid mirror telescopes see link here. This is very cool stuff! B)

In theory it is a simple idea and one that has been around for a while. The original concept for an earth based liquid mirror was, I believe, to use mercury.

The problem that has prevented a telescope of this type being constructed is a technological problem. The rotation of the mirror needs to be absolutely smooth. Any slight variation in the rotation rate of the telescope will cause ripples on the surface of the liquid. Even microscopic ripples greatly reduce the resolving ability of the telescope (and in this case would negate any advantage of constructing the telescope on the Moon). At the moment there is just too much friction in any bearings that have been designed. The tiny amount of friction present in the bearings causes the rotation to be insufficiently smooth.

Once this problem has been overcome then liquid mirror telescopes have a bright future. Mirrors far larger than in an telescope yet constructed could be built comparatively cheaply. Then the only problem for liquid mirror telescopes will be that they are not steerable. They are restricted to looking at a very narrow band of the sky more or less straight up.

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Waspie_Dwarf
Summer Moon Illusion


June 27, 2007: Sometimes you can't believe your eyes. This weekend is one of those times.

On Saturday night, June 30th, step outside at sunset and look around. You'll see a giant moon rising in the east. It looks like Earth's moon with the usual craters and seas, but something's wrong. This full moon is strangely inflated. It's huge!

You've just experienced the Moon Illusion.

Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. Cameras don't see it, but human eyes do; it's a genuine illusion.

linked-image
Above: A time-lapse sequence of the moon rising over Seattle. To the camera, the moon appears to be the same size no matter what its location on the sky.
Credit and copyright: Shay Stephens. [More]


This weekend's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any other full moon of 2007, so the Moon Illusion is going to be strong. What makes the moon so low? Consider the following: The sun and full moon lie on opposite sides of the sky. They are like a see-saw: when one is high, the other is low. Because the summer solstice was just last week (June 21st), the sun is near its highest point in northern skies. The full moon is correspondingly low.

When you look at the moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot. So why does your brain think one is bigger than the other? After all these years, scientists still aren't sure of the answer.

A similar illusion was discovered in 1913 by Mario Ponzo, who drew two identical bars across a pair of converging lines, like the railroad tracks pictured right. The upper yellow bar looks wider because it spans a greater apparent distance between the rails. This is the "Ponzo Illusion."

linked-image
Above: The Ponzo Illusion.
Image credit: Dr. Tony Phillips. [More]


Some researchers believe that the Moon Illusion is Ponzo's Illusion, with trees and houses playing the role of Ponzo's converging lines. Foreground objects trick your brain into thinking the moon is bigger than it really is.

But there's a problem: Airline pilots flying at very high altitudes sometimes experience the Moon Illusion without any objects in the foreground. What tricks their eyes?

Maybe it's the shape of the sky. Humans perceive the sky as a flattened dome, with the zenith nearby and the horizon far away. It makes sense; birds flying overhead are closer than birds on the horizon. When the moon is near the horizon, your brain, trained by watching birds (and clouds and airplanes), miscalculates the moon's true distance and size.
linked-image
Above: The "flattened sky" model for the Moon Illusion. [More]


There are other explanations, too. It doesn't matter which is correct, though, if all you want to do is see a big beautiful moon. The best time to look is around moonrise, when the moon is peeking through trees and houses or over mountain ridges, doing its best to trick you. The table below (scroll down) lists moonrise times for selected US cities.

A fun activity: Look at the moon directly and then through a narrow opening of some kind. For example, 'pinch' the moon between your thumb and forefinger or view it through a cardboard tube, which hides the foreground terrain. Can you make the optical illusion vanish?

Stop that! You won't want to miss the Moon Illusion.

Moonrise over Selected US Cities
If your city does not appear in the list, click here for more data
from the US Naval Observatory.

linked-image


Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

____________________________________________

More to the story...


The Moon Illusion Explained -- According to Don McCready, a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, the Moon Illusion is caused by oculomotor micropsia/macropsia.

The Moon Illusion: An Unsolved Mystery -- a nice overview of the Moon Illusion and its possible causes.

New Thoughts on Understanding the Moon Illusion -- from Carl J. Wenning, Physics Department, Illinois State University

Experiment in Perception: The Ponzo Illusion and the Moon

Explaining the Moon Illusion -- from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

NASA's Future: The Vision for Space Exploration

Source: Science@NASA

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Columbia Astronomer Offers New Theory Into 400-year-old Lunar Mystery


The University of Columbia press release is reproduced below:

Columbia astronomy professor Arlin Crotts thinks he has solved a 400-year-old mystery: the origin of strange optical flashes often reported as appearing on the moon’s surface.

linked-image
Image of TLP taken in 1953, courtesy of Columbia's Department of Astronomy.
The TLP is the small,
bright spot in the center of the image.


Transient Lunar Phenomena (TLPs), in which the lunar surface reportedly changes in brightness, blurriness or color, have been photographed and observed by thousands of astronomers over the centuries. Yet explanations of why they occur and even their reality as true lunar phenomena have been hotly debated. The TLPs typically cover a space of a few kilometers and last for several minutes.

Crotts has uncovered a strong statistical relationship between TLPs and so-called outgassing events on the lunar surface. Outgassing occurs when gases trapped beneath a moon or planet are released and, if only briefly, become part of the object’s atmosphere. A key component of this gas is radon.

“People over the years have attributed TLPs to all sorts of effects: turbulence in Earth's atmosphere, visual physiological effects, atmospheric smearing of light like a prism, and even psychological effects like hysteria or planted suggestion” says Crotts, “but TLPs correlate strongly with radon gas leaking from the moon. No earth-bound effect can fake that.”

To arrive at his theory, Crotts correlated TLPs with known gas outbursts from the lunar surface as seen by several spacecraft, particularly NASA’s Apollo 15 mission in 1971 and the robotic Lunar Prospector in 1998. What he discovered was a remarkable similarity in the pattern of outgassing event locations recorded by spacecraft across the face of the moon and reported TLP sites.

The pattern was further strengthened after Crotts performed a statistical test to rid the sample list of false reports and one time events that might not represent true outgassing sources. “The result,” says Crotts “shows that some lunar event sites that were the focus of great observer excitement over recent decades disappeared from the more highly refined list of TLP sites.” Crotts used two catalogs of such sightings amassed and edited three decades ago by now retired astronomers Barbara Middlehurst and Winifred Cameron.

Crotts says this research might lead to optical imaging of the lunar surface that could monitor how, when and where gas escapes from the moon. While the exact composition of this gas is largely unknown, he explains, hints from previous measurements indicate that it might contain substances beneficial for future moon explorations, especially water.

Until now, Crotts says two factors have worked against researchers solving the mystery of TLPs. Historically, outgassing has often been discussed by scientists, but many have considered the moon volcanically dead despite moonquakes and episodes of gas, such as argon, observed coming from the lunar surface. Another deterrent to researchers is the daunting volume of visual data associated with TLPs – a fact that plays to Crotts’ particular research interest and skills.

Along with collaborators Professors Paul Hickson from the University of British Columbia, and Thomas Pfrommer and Cameron Hummels of Columbia, Crotts recently built the robotic camera at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in northern Chile. It will automatically scan the moon for TLPs every few seconds and produce an unbiased map of the distribution, free of potentially flawed sightings due to human error, poor equipment, or improperly recorded observations that have dominated TLP studies until now. The scientists are planning even more monitors and hope they will establish with much greater accuracy the exact locations of gas leaks on the moon.

Crotts says improved TLP maps are already pointing to intriguing features on the lunar surface, and he is currently preparing a separate article on that subject.

– Written by David Poratta

Published: June 27, 2007
Last modified: Jun 28, 2007


Source: University of Columbia press release

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Stage mating completed- H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.13 for "KAGUYA" (SELENE) launch.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) will launch the Japan Aerospace Explanation Agency (JAXA)'s Lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) using H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.13 (H-IIA F13) on coming August 16 at 09:30 AM (JST) from Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC).

The launch campaign for KAGUYA launch has been started and the 1st and the 2nd stages mating was just carried out yesterday, July 3 (see the photo).

The mass of KAGUYA at liftoff is approximately 3 metric tons including two small satellites (Relay Satellite and VRAD Satellite). In order to inject KAGUYA into lunar transfer orbit, MHI prepare a H2A2022 model, equipped with two solid strap-on boosters (SSBs). And the payload fairing model is 4S (4 meters in diameter, a dedicated launch fairing).

Stacking two kinds of solid boosters, solid rocket boosters (SRB-As) and SSBs, will be conducted next 6 days, and it is followed by subsystem checks.

linked-image

Stage mating completed- H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.13. (July 3, 2007)

Source: H-IIA Launch Services

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Sick Osiris

Wow, really interesting stuff, but i doubt they will find water there.

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Wow, really interesting stuff, but i doubt they will find water there.

There are several craters at the lunar poles which are in perpetual darkness, hence they are extremely cold. It is not impossible that there is water ice in these craters and that is what they are looking for.

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The Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) press release is reproduced below:

Launch Postponement of the KAGUYA (SELENE)

July 20, 2007 (JST)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency would like to announce that we decided to postpone the launch of the Lunar Orbit Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13.)

The launch was originally scheduled on August 16, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.)

The new launch date will be announced as soon as it is determined.

(Reason for the delay)

When a ground test was prepared for another satellite (Wideband Internetworking Engineering Test and Demonstration Satellite, WINDS,) the polarity of its onboard condenser was found to be installed reversely. JAXA checked the KAGUYA (SELENE) for the same problem, and found the reverse polarity of the condenser in the two onboard baby satellites (one condenser on each satellite.) The two condensers will be replaced.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mission website:

Index for 2007/7

Source: JAXA press release

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NASA Robots Practice Moon Survey in the Arctic Circle


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:

Beth Dickey/Melissa Mathews
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-2087/1272
beth.dickey-1@nasa.gov, melissa.mathews-1@nasa.gov

John Bluck
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-5026/9000
john.g.bluck@nasa.gov
July 20, 2007


RELEASE: 07-163


NASA Robots Practice Moon Survey in the Arctic Circle


MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- Two NASA robots are surveying a rocky, isolated polar desert within a crater in the Arctic Circle. The study will help scientists learn how robots could evaluate potential outposts on the moon or Mars.

The robots, K10 Black and K10 Red, carry 3-D laser scanners and ground-penetrating radar. The team arrived at Haughton Crater at Devon Island, Canada, on July 12 and will operate the machines until July 31. Scientists chose the polar region because of the extreme environmental conditions, lack of infrastructure and resources, and geologic features. Additionally, Haughton Crater is geographically similar to Shackleton Crater at the South Pole of the moon. Both are impact craters that measure roughly 12.4 miles in diameter.

"We are learning about the awesome potential of human and robot teams," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., where the group conducting the survey is based. "Studying how humans and robots can maximize scientific returns in sites such as Devon Island will prepare us to walk on the moon and Mars."

NASA is planning to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020. Prior to establishing a lunar outpost, the agency must conduct detailed surveys at a variety of locations to produce maps, look for minerals and water, and learn other details. NASA plans to accomplish its surveys with an automated orbiting spacecraft, not a robotic lander, but the agency still has a keen interest in advancing the laser scanning technology.

Most of the lunar sites are on harsh terrain and in permanently shadowed areas. It is not unusual for site surveys to require thousands of measurements and hundreds of hours to complete. A robot can reduce mission cost and improve mission effectiveness by allowing ground control to conduct surveying tasks.

"A typical scenario involves multiple rovers autonomously surveying a region while humans supervise and assess data from a remote location," said Terry Fong, director of the Intelligent Robots Group at Ames.

The robots are using different techniques than the goal-directed traverses and isolated sampling tasks that Mars scientific rovers have used to explore the Red Planet. K10 Black and K10 Red are using a mix of information previously obtained by aerial and satellite imaging and data that the robot survey team is gathering.

The 3-D laser scanner can map topographic features as far as 3,280 feet away. The ground-penetrating radar, which NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., developed, can map below ground as deep as 16.4 feet.

"The robots are covering the area in lawnmower-like paths at human walking speeds to systematically map above and below ground," said Fong.

The practice survey in Haughton Crater is taking place at an area called Drill Hill. The robots are covering approximately 120 acres of terrain. Researchers are commanding the robots remotely from the Haughton-Mars base camp more than two miles away from Drill Hill.

The robots navigate using the Global Positioning System, stereo cameras, laser scanners and sun trackers. Each of the four-wheel-drive machines weighs 165 pounds and can carry a payload up to 110 pounds.

A key objective of the Drill Hill survey is to test the instruments and software on the robots as well as the equipment and software that humans will use at lunar outposts and ground control to supervise the robots. Engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will assess advanced robot driving techniques using a multi-screen cockpit. Ames will test software that makes high-resolution maps for interactive display in 3-D.

NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program sponsors the robotic site survey at Haughton Crater.

For more information, including an updated blog, visit:
http://haughton2007.arc.nasa.gov/

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 07-157

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NASA Selects Astrophysics Projects for New Science on the Moon


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:

Aug. 3, 2007
Grey Hautaluoma
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0668
grey.hautaluoma-1@nasa.gov

RELEASE: 07-169

NASA Selects Astrophysics Projects for New Science on the Moon


WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected four proposals focusing on astrophysics priorities in lunar science to facilitate the nation's exploration program. The proposed studies are part of a NASA effort to develop new opportunities to conduct important science investigations during the planned renewal of human exploration of the moon.

The newly-announced proposals for concept studies may lead to experiments placed on the moon that would allow for unprecedented tests of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, instruments to probe the early evolution of structure in the universe, and observation of X-rays produced by the charged particles the sun emits, known as the solar wind. Instruments based on these concept studies also would provide unique information on the interior structure of the moon and on Earth-moon interactions.

"We're very excited by the proposals the scientific community sent us to advance lunar science through astrophysics," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. "The moon figures prominently in NASA's exploration goals, and these projects each give us a way to expand our knowledge of the moon and our universe on a greater scale."

Two concept studies propose to place suitcase-sized instruments at various locations on the moon so the distance from the Earth to the moon can be determined to the submillimeter level. These observations will yield a wealth of science, including precision tests of general relativity and greater understanding of the structure of the moon and Earth-moon interactions. The proposals are:

-- "A Lunar Laser Ranging Array for the 21st Century" from the University of Maryland at College Park. Douglas Currie is Principal Investigator.

-- "Precision Lunar Laser Ranging" from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Stephen Merkowitz is Principal Investigator.

A third concept study proposes to place a small radio telescope array on the moon to study particle acceleration in celestial objects such as supernovae, quasars and the solar corona. It also will serve as a pathfinder for a future possible radio telescope to measure the growth of structure in the early universe. The study is "Radio Observatory for Lunar Sortie Science" from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. Joseph Lazio is Principal Investigator.

The fourth project will measure X-ray emissions caused by the solar wind and its interactions with Earth's magnetosphere. It also will help improve future measurements of low-energy X-ray emission from our galaxy. "Lunar-Based Soft X-ray Science" is the study from Goddard. Michael Collier is Principal Investigator.

Details on NASA's lunar research programs are available at:


Source: NASA Press Release 07-169

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SSTL to develop low cost lunar orbiter for NASA


The Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd press release is reproduce below:

13th August 2007

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been awarded a contract for the study phase of a potential joint US-UK lunar orbiter mission to be called Magnolia.

This first phase of the contract will run for 9-months, culminating in a preliminary mission design. The contract includes a package of training by SSTL and the University of Surrey that will allow Mississippi State University (MSU) and NASA Stennis Space Center staff to benefit from the know-how accrued by SSTL over the last 25 years, across 27 small satellite missions.

Commenting on the contract award, MSU’s David Shaw stated: “MSU is committed to developing a small satellite capability in Mississippi and believes that SSTL is the best partner with whom to achieve that aim”. SSTL’s founder and Group Executive Chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting, added: “We are delighted to be working with our US partners on this programme and look forward to the exciting possibility of a joint US-UK lunar mission. SSTL is committed to driving down the cost of space missions in Earth orbit and beyond.”

In 2006, SSTL performed a lunar exploration design study for the UK government’s Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (the newly created Science & Technology Facilities Council). The study was supported by a group of UK scientists and showed the feasibility of a pair of low cost missions known as MoonLITE and MoonRaker.

SSTL has already developed equipment for interplanetary missions such as the Rosetta comet chaser and recently delivered a payload processor for a US radar to fly onboard the 2008 Indian lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1. Looking deeper into space, SSTL has performed a European Space Agency feasibility study for a low cost mission to Venus and has studied potential missions to near-Earth asteroids and Earth re-entry for the future return of samples from Mars. Magnolia marks SSTL’s next step beyond low Earth Orbit.

The next phase of the Magnolia mission is planned to start in 2008 and could lead to the launch of the mission in 2010.

The contract, between MSU and SSTL follows the signing of a Joint Statement of Intent between NASA and the UK’s BNSC in April this year.


Source: SSTL press release

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