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Waspie_Dwarf

Exploration Of The Moon

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

New Launch Day of the KAGUYA (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13

August 15, 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 the launch of the Lunar Orbit Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) was rescheduled as follows.

Scheduled date of launch: September 13 (Thursday), 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST)

Launch time: 10:35:47 a.m. (JST)

Launch windows: September 14 (Fri) through September 21 (Fri) 2007 (JST)

(Launch time will be set for each day.)

The original launch date was postponed due to the replacement work of parts in the two onboard baby satellites of the "KAGUYA" as announced on July 20, 2007. The replacement was successfully completed thus the new launch date was set.

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/8

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf
Suitcase Science on the Moon
08.17.07

In October 1963, two cartographers with the Air Force Aeronautical Chart and Information Center saw a strange glow on the moon. Using the 24-inch refractor telescope at Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, James Greenacre and Edward Barr saw a deep, ruby-red glow coming from the crater Aristarchus. The sighting might have been glowing gas from volcanic activity, and a second sighting in November of that year was verified by Dr. John Hall, Director of the observatory at the time.

linked-image
Image above: This is a view of the Aristarchus and Herodotus
craters taken from orbit during the Apollo 15 mission. The
view is toward the south. Aristarchus crater is near the
center of the image, and the flooded Herodotus is to the
right.
Credit: NASA


Throughout history, there have been many more. There have been rumbles from other areas on the moon as well. For example, when Dr. Yosio Nakamura of the University of Texas, Austin, and his colleagues reviewed seismology data from the Apollo missions, they discovered there was a magnitude 5.7 moonquake near the lunar south pole, a possible site for a future lunar base.

The moon is not dead yet, nor has it revealed all its secrets. Scientists don't even agree how it got here in the first place. As part of NASA's vision for space exploration, astronauts will return to the moon by 2020. They plan to test new technology for human missions to more remote destinations, like Mars. However, there are still many discoveries to be made about the moon itself, and lunar exploration is an important part of the plans.

As part of an effort to develop new opportunities to conduct important science investigations during the planned renewal of human exploration of the moon, NASA chose seven proposals from more than 70 submissions under the Lunar Sortie Science Opportunities (LSSO) Program.

The seven selected proposals will result in advanced development for simple, automated 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.

Two proposals from scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., were chosen; one to study moonquakes, called "Seismology and Heat flow instrument package for Lunar Science and Hazards," and another to search for possible frozen water deposits at the lunar south pole, called "Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith (VAPoR) on the Moon using Mass Spectrometry".

Scientists are interested in establishing a lunar base at the south pole of the moon because the possibility that a vital resource – water in the form of ice – may exist there. The depths of some craters in the polar regions may be in permanent shadow because the moon is only very slightly tilted from its spin axis. These regions would be very cold, and able to trap water as ice for billions of years if somehow ice was transported there.

Some astronomers believe vapor from comet impacts could migrate to the poles and become embedded in the lunar soil at the bottom of permanently shadowed craters. Others believe hydrogen from the solar wind could become embedded in the lunar soil and combine with oxygen there to form water molecules.

If water ice exists in the eternal shadows of the lunar poles, and it is practical to extract water from the lunar soil, the water could be used for drinking, or it could be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket fuel and breathable air.

Volatiles are things that vaporize easily, like frozen water, and a major part of the VAPoR volatile mission is to discover how much ice, if any, exists at the lunar poles. "Remote missions, like Lunar Prospector, have detected hints that ice may exist at the lunar poles, but the only way to know for sure is to go there and see how much is trapped in the lunar soil (regolith)," said Goddard's Dr. Daniel Glavin, Principal Investigator for the proposed mission.

The mission will use a small oven to vaporize volatiles in lunar soil. The resulting gasses will be analyzed with a mass spectrometer instrument, which uses electric fields to separate molecules by their mass.

linked-image
Image above: This is an image of the VAPoR prototype
(laboratory breadboard). The pyrolysis heating element containing
the lunar soil sample is on the right side, a vacuum chamber and
ion gauge that monitors the internal pressure (filament seen
glowing) in the middle, and the quadrupole mass spectrometer
tube used to analyze the gases released from the lunar sample
can be seen to the left.
Credit: NASA


If the mission discovers water, it can also reveal its origin by analyzing isotopes, elements with similar chemical properties but different masses. For example, the isotope deuterium is chemically similar to its lighter cousin, hydrogen, a component of water. Deuterium is much less common than hydrogen. However, like hydrogen, deuterium can bond with oxygen to form water. By measuring the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in water, scientists can tell where it came from. Water from a comet will have a higher deuterium to hydrogen ratio than solar wind implanted hydrogen or water derived from Earth contamination.

Part of the goal for the moonquake mission is to evaluate safety. "We're not sure it's a good idea to put your mobile home on the edge of Shackleton crater with all the moonquake activity," said Goddard's Bruce Milam, who is helping the team design the drill needed to bury the instruments. The mission will also measure heat flow from the moon, which will help gauge the potential for lunar volcanic activity.

linked-image
Image above: The Apollo Lunar Surface Drill was used to drill
hollow tubes into the lunar surface. These tubes were used for
emplacement of probes for the heat flow and neutron probe
experiments, as well as to obtain deep core tubes of the regolith
(lunar soil) for geology. Goddard's moonquake mission will
employ a drill with a more modern design to bury the
instruments. In this image, Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott
threads a heat flow probe down the tube of a bore stem.
Note the drill head in background and bore stem rack in
foreground.
Credit: NASA


"Many moonquakes are from meteorite impacts or tidal stress from Earth's gravity, but there are these other moonquakes that we can't explain," said Goddard's Dr. Patrick Taylor, Principal Investigator for the mission. "Our mission will help understand their cause by revealing the layers of the moon, its composition, and how it is cooling."

Both mission proposals were awarded a nine-month contract to refine their design and evaluate alternatives, like various locations and different drill designs for the moonquake mission, or robotic versus human deployment for the VAPoR mission (NASA is not sure how risky it is to send astronauts to the bottom of a deep lunar crater).

"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 Dr. Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Bill Steigerwald
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Source: NASA/GSFC - News

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Archosaur

Are there currently any proposals to study the floor of Tycho crater? As it is one of the deepest, maria-filled, and largely in shadow it could give more insight into the nature of our Moon.

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Waspie_Dwarf
SMART-1 diagnoses wrinkles and excess weight on the Moon


linked-image
This is a SMART-1 AMIE image mosaic of the edge of Mare Humorum. It shows basalt deposits to the right and graben, or elongated, trench-like erosional fault structures, around the basin.

The images were taken from a distance of 1070 km, centred at 46° West and 27° South. The overall image field measures 200 x 130 km.

Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)


22 August 2007
Owing to SMART-1’s high resolution and favourable illumination conditions during the satellite’s scientific operations, data from Europe’s lunar orbiter is helping put together a story linking geological and volcanic activity on the Moon.

The combination of high-resolution data from SMART-1’s AMIE micro-camera and data from the US Clementine mission is helping scientists determine the tectonics of the Moon’s giant basins and the history of volcanic flooding of mid-sized craters, inside and around the lunar basins.

“Thanks to low-elevation solar illumination on these high-resolution images”, says SMART-1 Project Scientist Bernard Foing, “it is now possible to study fine, small-scale geological features that went undetected earlier.”

linked-image
The positions of Mare Humorum (in green) and Oceanus Procellarum (in red) are indicated on a Mercator map of the Moon centred on the near-side.

Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)


The study provides new information on the thermal and tectonic history of the Moon and the processes following the formation of the large basins. There are approximately 50 recognizable lunar basins more than 300 km in diameter. They are believed to be created by the impact of asteroids or comets during the Lunar Late Heavy Bombardment period, 350-750 million years after the formation of the Moon. Some of these basins (mostly on the near side) were then filled in by lava originating from volcanic activity.

Combining information from SMART-1 and Clementine makes it possible to assess the link between fine geological structures, identified for the first time with AMIE’s high resolution, and the chemical composition of the study area.

linked-image
This is an image mosaic of pictures taken by SMART-1’s AMIE camera. It shows a part of the Humorum basin showing graben features or elongated, trench-like erosional features. The size of individual images is 50 km.

Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)


The Humorum basin is an ‘ideal’, circular, compact and moderately thick basin that was created by a simple impact event, showing a thin crust and mass concentration within a small area (from Clementine topography and gravity data).

The Procellarum basin, or Oceanus Procellarum, is a large, extended, complex basin that is moderately thick and shows no mass concentration. It may have been formed by faulting associated with the formation of the adjacent Imbrium crater (3.84 thousand million years ago), rather than by a ‘gargantuan’ impact.

linked-image
This is a SMART-1 AMIE image of a part of the Humorum basin showing strike slip faults (indicated in the right panel) and tectonic wrinkles due to crust deformation around a basin mascon (mass concentration or ‘local overweight’).

Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)


The Humorum basin shows concentric graben, or elongated, trench-like erosional features around the edge of the basin. These are formed as the crust is deformed due to the presence of a mascon (mass concentration or ‘local overweight’).

linked-image
This image shows graben features (red), strike slip faults (green) and wrinkle ridges (blue) as determined with SMART-1 AMIE in a context Clementine image of the Humorum basin.

Graben features are elongated, trench-like erosional structures which form as the crust is deformed due to the presence of a mascon (mass concentration or 'local overweight').

Strike-slip faults are faults where the rupture is vertical and one side slides past the other. An example is the San Andreas fault along the western United States, however there is no multi-plate tectonic activity on the Moon.

Wrinkle ridges in the Humorum basin are believed to be caused by thermo-mechanical deformation of the mare basalts, rather than mascon tectonics (due to mass concentration, or local 'overweight').

Credits: NASA/ Clementine


“Lunar crust is like a fragile skin, wrinkled due to local mascons or its thermal history”, says Bernard Foing, “as doctors, we searched for these skin-imprints but some may be masked underneath the last layers of basalt.”

For the first time, strike-slip faults have been observed with SMART-1 in the Humorum basin. These are faults where the rupture is vertical and one side slides past the other. An example is the San Andreas fault along the western United States. However, there is no multi-plate tectonic activity on the Moon.

linked-image
This Clementine image shows wrinkle ridges detected with SMART-1 in the Procellarum basin.

The wrinkle ridges are not distributed radially around the basin. Due to their location, they do not seem associated with mass concentration tectonics, but mostly are results of thermal and mechanical deformations resulting from volcanic activity - due to compression from basalt extruded by the lava. The Procellarum basin contains the youngest basalt found on the Moon so far, up to two thousand million years old.

Credits: NASA/ Clementine


Procellarum is an extended basin, where the crust is thin enough to allow magma to arise from under the surface, 4 to 2 thousand million years ago. SMART-1 images do not show geological faults, or surfaces where the rock ruptures due to differential movement, in the Procellarum basin.

Procellarum shows wrinkle ridges that are not distributed radially around the basin. Due to their location, they do not seem associated with mascon tectonics, but are mostly results of thermal and mechanical deformation resulting from volcanic activity - basalt extruded by the lava causes compression in the area. The Procellarum basin contains the youngest basalt found on the Moon so far, up to 2 thousand million years old.

linked-image
This picture shows the craters Hansteen (top) and Billy (bottom), both lying in the Procellarum basin. Billy is an example of a crater flooded due to volcanic activity, whereas Hansteen remains unflooded. The craters are 45 km in diameter.

Credits: ESA/Space-X (Space Exploration Institute)


Different ‘pulses’ of volcanic activity in lunar history created units of lava on the surface. The flooding of mid-sized craters with lava due to volcanic activity in the region is reflected in the mineralogical map. Differences in the mineralogical composition provide a tool to study the geological history of the region. Flooded as well as unflooded craters are found in the region, reflecting the evolution of volcanic activity with time.

“This analysis shows the potential of the AMIE camera”, says Jean-Luc Josset, Principal Investigator for the AMIE camera, “and we are still analysing other datasets that make use of the varying illumination conditions during the operation of SMART-1 over one and half years”.


Notes:

The results reflected in the article appear in ‘Coupling between impacts and lunar volcanism for Humorum and Procellarum basins’ by S. Peters, B. Foing, D. Koschny, A. Rossi and the SMART-1 AMIE team, presented at the European Planetary Science Congress on 22 August 2007.

Stefan Peters performed this work while he was a trainee at the Research and Scientific Support Department at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre.


For more information:

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

Stefan Peters, Vrij Universiteit, Amsterdam
Email: Speters @ rssd.esa.int

Jean - Luc Josset, SMART-1 AMIE Principal Investigator, Space-X Space Exploration Institute
Email : Jean-Luc.Josset @ space-x.ch

Source: ESA - Space Science - SMART 1 Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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Lilly

*Sigh*...wrinkles and excess weight, I can really relate to the poor moon! ;)

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Waspie_Dwarf
SMART-1: Europe on the Moon, one year on


linked-image
This gallery of SMART-1 pictures illustrates the science and exploration themes addressed by the mission.

The mission addresses the physical processes at work on Earth-like planets and their evolution. The moon is a geophysical laboratory where impacts, volcanism, tectonics and effects of space weather can be studied to put together the story of the Moon’s past. The geochemistry and thus the origins of the Moon, the evolution of the Earth-Moon system and the bombardment of the inner solar system are topics addressed under lunar formation and evolution.

Apart from studying the collected data, know-how from SMART-1 is helping prepare the ground for future science and exploration missions. With its unrivalled resolution in colour and various illumination angles, the satellite has mapped the polar regions, surveyed lunar resources and investigated potential landing sites and outposts.

Credits: ESA/SPACE-X (Space Exploration Institute)


31 August 2007
A year ago, as Europe reached the Moon for the first time, scientists on Earth eagerly watched SMART-1’s spectacular impact. New results from the impact analysis and from the instruments still keep coming.

One year on, we present ongoing scientific highlights of the mission. The analysis of data and simulations of the satellite’s impact provide clues on the dynamics of the ejecta after the flash, along with laboratory experiments or modelling of impacts. The experience gained is being put to good use in preparation for future missions.

SMART-1 addresses various scientific themes that answer questions on the physical processes at work on Earth-like planets and how they evolve. The moon is a laboratory for geophysics where impacts, volcanism, tectonics and effects of space weather can be studied to put together the story of its past. The geochemistry and origins of the Moon, the evolution of the Earth-Moon system and the bombardment of the inner solar system are topics addressed under lunar formation and evolution.

Know-how from SMART-1 is helping prepare the ground for future science and exploration missions. With its unrivalled resolution, in colour and with various illumination angles, the satellite has mapped the polar regions, surveyed lunar resources and investigated potential landing sites and outposts.

More than 15 presentations were given by the SMART-1 team during the ‘Europlanet’ European Planetary Science Congress in Berlin, 20-24 August 2007. Topics covered included: highlights of SMART-1 lunar science, new results on coupling between impacts and lunar volcanism for Humorum and Procellarum basins, latest high resolution maps of the lunar Poles and infrared spectra of lunar areas and craters.

Mike Burchell from the University of Kent showed laboratory simulations describing the impact crater’s shape and size, predicting ricochet ejecta. As a detailed picture of the impact is taking shape, scientists now know that the spacecraft bounced over the surface, projecting debris at high altitude, which was traced by Christian Veillet with the Canada France Hawaii telescope.

Experts from the SMART-1 team are now working on data calibration, analysis, archival and distribution for the scientific community and are supporting collaborations with upcoming lunar missions. This includes refining the lunar coordinate systems, selecting targets observed by SMART-1 and other probes, exchanging tools for scientific planning, or building on SMART-1 outreach or education activities to promote future lunar missions and exploration.

“Know-how and data from SMART-1 is forming a bridge for international collaboration and European contribution to upcoming lunar Missions”, says SMART-1 Project scientist Bernard Foing.

Chang'E-1, China’s lunar orbiter and JAXA’s Selene are ready to be launched later this year. In Spring 2008, the Indian Chandrayaan-1 will carry three ESA instruments (two of them upgraded SMART-1 X-ray and infrared instruments) to observe the moon.

Knowledge gained from SMART-1 and the impact campaign is also helping the preparation of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, due for launch before the end of 2008. SMART-1’s high resolution maps are helping characterise future landing sites, in particular at the poles.

linked-image
This mosaic shows the Moon's North polar area and was taken during first phase of the SMART-1 mission in 2005.

This mosaic is valuable as it shows illumination conditions at the region. It is important to understand global illumination conditions to help in planning the location of future landing sites and, later, possible bases, on the Moon.

Credits: ESA/SPACE-X (Space Exploration Institute))


“After SMART-1’s final touchdown at 2 km/s,” says Bernard Foing, “everybody asks: when will Europe land softly on the Moon?”

In the context of ESA’s Aurora Exploration programme and its preparatory activities for a Mars Sample Return mission, a call of ideas was issued for the Next Exploration Science and Technology mission (NEXT) in April 2007. It resulted in more than 70 responses, including more than 30 lunar proposals. Future European lunar missions concern a large community interested in the scientific and technological potential of lunar landers and sample return missions.


Notes:

‘Highlights of SMART-1 Lunar Science’ results by B. Foing and the SMART-1 Science and Technology Working Team was presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2007.

Some of the results mentioned in this article appear in:
‘SMART-1/AMIE high resolution maps of the Lunar Poles’ by M. Ellouzi, B. Foing, D. Koschny, S. Beauvivre, J-L. Josset & the AMIE Science Team.
‘Coupling between impacts and lunar volcanism for Humorum and Procellarum basins’ by S. Peters, D. Koschny, B. Foing and the SMART-1 AMIE Team.
‘The Smart 1 impact event: laboratory simulation and prediction of crater shape and size’ by M.J. Burchell, R. Robin-Williams, B.H. Foing and the Smart 1 Impact Campaign Team.
‘SMART-1 Moon impact on 3 Sept 2006: results from observation campaign’ by P. Ehrenfreund, B.H. Foing, C. Veillet and the SMART-1 Impact Campaign Team.
‘SMART-1 Collaborations with Upcoming Lunar Missions’ by B. Foing and the SMART-1 Science and Technology Working Team.
‘Relative spectra and spectral slopes of selected lunar craters from observations by SIR on board SMART-1’ by E. Vilenius, M. Wiese, U. Mall and SIR collaboration.


For more information:

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

Source: ESA - SMART 1

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

Launch Postponement of the KAGUYA (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13

September 11, 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 have decided to postpone the launch of the Lunar Orbit Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) as adverse weather conditions are expected during the scheduled countdown operations starting from one day prior to the launch day.

The new launch date will be September 14 (Fri,) 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.) The launch time is scheduled for 10:31:01 a.m. (JST.)

We will re-examine the weather and other conditions tomorrow for the launch on the 14th.

The launch was previously scheduled for September 13 (Thu,) 2007 (JST.)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/9

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

Launch of the KAGUYA (SELENE)

by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.13

September 12, 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 have decided to carry out the launch of the Lunar Orbit Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14 (Fri), 2007, (Japan Standard Time, JST,) as we informed you yesterday. The scheduled launch time is 10:31:01 a.m. (JST.)

We will keep closely monitoring the weather and other conditions for the launch on the 14th.

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/9

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf
Kaguya – another chapter for the lunar saga


13 September 2007

linked-image
An artist's impression of the mission Kaguya in orbit around the moon.

Credits: JAXA


JAXA’s first large lunar explorer, Kaguya (formerly Selene), is due to launch on 14 September, adding a new mission to the story of lunar exploration.

Originally planned to launch on 13 September, its launch is rescheduled for 14 September 2007, 3:31:01 am CEST, due to weather conditions. Kaguya will be launched on board a Japanese H-II A rocket, from the Tanegashima space centre in Japan.

The objectives of the mission are to understand the Moon’s origin and evolution, and to survey it for future use. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) had previously launched HITEN in 1990, delivering the small lunar orbiter HAGOMORO. Kaguya is said to be the largest lunar mission since NASA’s Apollo programme.

linked-image
An artist's impression of KAGUYA: its main orbiter, the relay satellite and the vrad satellite.

Credits: JAXA


Kaguya has 14 instruments on board. With these, it will gather global data on lunar chemical element distribution, mineral distribution, topography and surface structures, gravity field and the environment of the Moon. This will be done with higher resolution than past lunar missions and the data that will be obtained is expected to lead to a better understanding of the Moon’s evolution.

The satellite will also observe the near-Moon environment including plasma (a highly variable gas composed of ions and electrons which is electrically neutral), the electromagnetic field and high-energy particles.

ESA's SMART-1 team has helped the Kaguya team test their ground segment. This was done by testing reception of the signal of SMART-1 while in orbit around the Moon.


linked-image
An artist's impression of the KAGUYA mission, consisting of the main orbiter, the relay satellite and the vrad satellite.

Credits: JAXA


China and India are also headed to the Moon, with launches scheduled for October 2007 and spring 2008 respectively. Both missions also aim to collect data for the research of the origin and evolution of the Moon.

Kaguya will be placed in its final orbit at an altitude of 100 km. With its exhaustive suite of instruments, it will build on some of the previous experience from SMART-1. “SMART-1 was the small lunar vehicle with miniaturised technology,” says SMART-1 Project scientist Bernard Foing, “Kaguya is the large van of lunar exploration with the full suite of sophisticated instruments.”


Notes:

Kaguya consists of the main orbiter and two small satellites: the relay satellite and the vrad (Very Long Baseline Interferometry Radio) satellite. The main orbiter will be placed into a peripolar orbit at an altitude of 100 km and will observe the Moon for about a year. The relay satellite will act as a communications relay between the main orbiter and the ground station. The vrad satellite will play a significant role in measuring the Moon’s gravitational field.


For more information:

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

Source: ESA - Space Science - News

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

Launch Result of the KAGUYA (SELENE)

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

September 14, 2007 (JST)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Lunar Orbit Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) at 10:31:01 a.m. on September 14, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and, at about 45 minutes and 34 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the KAGUYA was confirmed.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the KAGUYA aboard the H-IIA F13.

At the time of the launch, the weather was clear, a wind speed was 5.9 m/second from the East South East, and the temperature was 29.8 degrees Celsiu.

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/9

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf

Kaguya - Launch images

Click on images for hi-res.

linked-image linked-image linked-image

linked-image linked-image linked-image

All images credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Source: JAXA Digital Archive

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Deployment of the High-Gain Antenna

September 15, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed that the deployment of the high-gain antenna of the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) had been successfully performed through telemetry data received at 6:52 p.m. on September 14, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.) The high-gain antenna plays a key role in communications between the satellite and the Earth.

We have also acquired image data taken by the KAGUYA onboard camera at 10:53 p.m. (JST.)

The satellite is currently in good health.

An image of the high-gain antenna deployment taken by the onboard camera is attached below. We are preparing for the satellite injection into lunar orbit, and you can check our operation status in the following Special Site:

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

<High-gain antenna deployment image>

linked-image

linked-image

(High-gain antenna deployment image)

*The right side is the SOL-BC (part of the X-ray spectrometer.)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/9

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Deployment Status of the Solar Array Paddle

September 15, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed that the deployment of the solar array paddle of the "KAGUYA" (SELENE) had been successfully performed at 11:44 a.m. on September 14 (Japan Standard Time, JST) through signals and power generation data from the satellite, as we had explained at the post-launch press conference.

We have acquired an image of the paddle deployment at 11:13 p.m. on the same day (JST) as attached below.

You can also find the image in the following Special Site.

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

<Solar Array Paddle deployment image>

linked-image

linked-image linked-image

(Solar array paddle deployment acquired image) (Explanatory drawing showing the same position)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/9

Source: JAXA press release

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Waspie_Dwarf
NASA Maps the Moon With Google


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:

Sept. 18, 2007
Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-3749
katherine.trinidad@nasa.gov

Michael Mewhinney
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-3937
michael.mewhinney@nasa.gov

Lynnette Madison
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
lynnette.b.madison@nasa.gov

RELEASE: 07-195

NASA Maps the Moon With Google


MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - New higher-resolution lunar imagery and maps that include NASA multimedia content now are available on the Google Moon Web site.

Updates include new content from the Apollo missions, including dozens of embedded panoramic images, links to audio clips and videos, and descriptions of the astronauts' activities during the missions. The new content is overlaid on updated, higher-resolution lunar maps. Also added are detailed charts of different regions of the moon suitable for use by anyone simulating a lunar mission.

"NASA's objective is for Google Moon to become a more accurate and useful lunar mapping platform that will be a foundation for future web-based moon applications, much like the many applications that have been built on top of Google Maps," said Chris C. Kemp, director of strategic business development at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "This will make it easier for scientists everywhere to make lunar data more available and accessible."

Google Moon's visible imagery and topography are aligned with the recently updated lunar coordinate system and can be used for scientifically accurate mission planning and data analysis. The new site is designed to be user-friendly and encourage the exchange of data and ideas among scientists and amateur astronomers.

This announcement closely follows the release of new NASA content in Google Earth, including photographs taken by NASA astronauts and imagery from NASA's Earth observing satellite sensors, such as the Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor, Landsat and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer.

Astronaut photography was developed in collaboration with the Crew Earth Observations team, part of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. Satellite imagery of Earth was developed in partnership with the Earth Observatory team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The alliance was accomplished under a Space Act Agreement signed in December 2006 by Google and NASA's Ames Research Center. Google is headquartered near Ames in northern California's Silicon Valley.

For more information on Google Moon, visit:


For more information on Google Earth, visit:


For information about NASA, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov

- end -

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


Source: NASA Press Release 07-195

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September 27, 2007 Updated

KAGUYA smoothly traveling to the Moon

linked-image

The lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) launched by the H-IIA F13 on Sep. 14 from the Tanegashima Space Center is smoothly heading for the moon's orbit with its solar array paddle and high gain antenna successfully deployed.

We will provide updated information on the "KAGUYA" flight through the Special Site including orbit adjustment, separation of the two baby satellites, the Relay and VRAD satellites, and start of the regular observation orbit flight.

KAGUYA/H-IIAF13 Special Site

Mission Profile: Movie introducing KAGUYA's trip

Project Site

Orbital Information Distribution Service

Source: JAXA News

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Carnegie Mellon Building Robot for Lunar Prospecting

NASA-funded Project is Inventing New Type of Rover


The Carnegie Mellon University press release is reproduced below:


Contact:

Byron Spice
412-268-9068
bspice@cs.cmu.edu

Anne Watzman
412-268-3830
aw16@andrew.cmu.edu

PITTSBURGH — Researchers in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science are building a robotic prospector for NASA that can creep over rocky slopes and then anchor itself as a stable platform for drilling deep into extraterrestrial soils.

Called "Scarab," this four-wheeled robot will never leave the Earth. But it will demonstrate technologies that a lunar rover will need to find concentrations of hydrogen, possibly water and other volatile chemicals on the moon that could be mined to produce fuel, water and air that are essential for supporting lunar outposts.

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Scarab is equipped with a Canadian-made drill for obtaining meter-long geological core samples and features a novel rocker-arm suspension that enables the robot to plant its belly on the ground for drilling operations.

"A lunar prospector will face a hostile environment in the perpetual darkness of craters at the moon's southern pole, where ground temperatures are minus 385 degrees and no energy source is at hand," said William "Red" Whittaker, the Fredkin Research Professor and principal investigator of the NASA-funded project. "It's a place where humans can't work effectively, but where Scarab will thrive, even while operating on the electrical power required to illuminate a 100-watt light bulb."

Robotic prospecting on the moon poses substantial, sometimes conflicting challenges. Scarab must be agile enough to travel miles over sandy, rock-strewn soil, but also serve as a stable drilling platform. Operating for months in total darkness, it cannot rely on solar energy or batteries for power. Instead it will use a radioisotope source that places a premium on energy efficiency. To navigate in total darkness, Scarab must rely on new, low-power, laser-based sensors.

"As a consequence of the power restrictions, it's not very speedy," said David Wettergreen, associate research professor of robotics and leader of Scarab's software and autonomy development. With a top speed of just four inches per second, Scarab tries the patience of even the most laid-back observer. When faced with particularly large obstacles or drilling tasks, it may pause to store up extra power.

To optimize efficiency, the robot must be as light as possible. But to operate the coring drill, the vehicle also has to be massive enough to apply sufficient downward pressure on the drill and counter the torque of the rotating drill. Researchers estimate it must weigh at least 250 kilograms, or about 550 pounds.

The suspension allows Scarab to make the most of its weight by enabling it to lower its 5 1/2-foot-by-3-foot body to the ground for drilling operations. "One of the design innovations was to put the drill in the center of the robot," Wettergreen said, rather than attaching it to an arm. "Scarab can apply its entire mass onto the drill, so that everything is assisting the drilling operation."

The suspension also makes it possible for Scarab to raise its body as much as 21 inches off the ground, so it can straddle rocks or lean as it negotiates steep slopes.

"It's a good combination vehicle that does two things very well," said John Caruso, project manager at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. "Scarab is successful because it achieves the design simplicity of a single-purpose machine while accomplishing the multiple purposes of driving and drilling in darkness."

Also important is that the vehicle has been developed as an integrated package based on the requirements of an entire prospecting mission, Caruso said. NASA hasn't announced such a mission as yet, he noted, but developing the technology now will ultimately lower the technical risk for such an undertaking. Glenn Research Center is developing radioisotope power sources for deep space and lunar applications.

The drill is being built by the Northern Centre For Advanced Technology Inc. in Sudbury, Ontario, and will be capable of processing and analyzing the geologic cores it obtains.

Researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center are collaborating to evaluate navigational sensors and algorithms for operation in darkness, such as a "light striper" being built at Carnegie Mellon that detects obstructions by shining laser beams and then looking for distortions in the beams.

Researchers at the Robotics Institute have been working since March to build the robot and develop its autonomous navigation and scientific software. The carbon-composite body was designed and built by a team of engineers headed by John Thornton, a student who also builds streamlined racers featured in Carnegie Mellon's annual Buggy Races.

Development work continues on software that can use all of Scarab's motions to best advantage and enable it to navigate autonomously in the dark. A field experiment planned for the end of the year will put driving and drilling in the dark together in a complete demonstration of the lunar mission concept.

The project is funded through NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and its In-situ Resource Utilization program.

Whittaker has announced that he is assembling a team to compete for the Google Lunar X-Prize and its $20 million grand prize for operating a privately funded robot on the moon by 2012. That effort is separate and distinct from the NASA-funded Scarab project, which is developing technologies that could be used on the moon but are being tested on Earth.
###

Photo provided by Debra Tobin

Source: Carnegie Mellon University News Release

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

Lunar Explorer KAGUYA (SELENE)

Successful Image Taking by the High Definition Television (HDTV)

October 1, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully taken high definition moving images through the KAGUYA (SELENE) for the first time. The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer launched on September 14 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The images were taken by the KAGUYA's onboard High Definition Television (HDTV), which was developed by NHK for space use. It is the first high-definition image shooting of the Earth from so deep in space - about 110,000 km away from the Earth - in human history. The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center, then processed at NHK.

The satellite was confirmed to be in good health through telemetry data received at the Usuda station.

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The Earth taken by the onboard HDTV of the KAGUYA (Still image)

The world's first high definition image shooting of the Earth from about 110,000 km deep in space. (Up until today, we have taken images from the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS,) which fly about 340 km away from the Earth.) The West Coast of South America looks brighter as it was day time there when the image was taken.

The moving image was taken by eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute) at 9:46 p.m. on September 29, 2007 (JST,) then received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center at 9:40 a.m. on September 30, 2007 (JST). Part of the acquired moving image data was processed for this still image

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

(Reference)

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KAGUYA (SELENE) Flight Path to the Moon (Pattern Diagram)

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High Definition Television (prior to loading on the KAGUYA)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/10

Source: JAXA press release

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Lunar Orbit Injection Maneuver (LOI1)

October 4, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to carry out a lunar orbit injection maneuver (LOI1) for the "KAGUYA" (SELENE) from around 5:55 a.m. on October 4, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.)

The "KAGUYA" (SELENE) is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

(Scheduled next information release)

We plan to announce the result of the LOI1 around 9:00 a.m. on October 5 (JST) on the following Special Site.

[http://www.jaxa.jp/countdown/f13/]

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KAGUYA (SELENE) Flight Path to the Moon (Pattern Diagram)

* We did not carry out the LOI1 condition adjustment maneuver (ΔVc3) as the orbit error was minimal.

** Lunar orbit injection maneuver (LOI1): orbit control to move the KAGUYA to the lunar orbit from the earth orbit (12 in the above figure)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/10

Source: JAXA press release

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Result of the Lunar Orbit Injection Maneuver (LOI1)

- Lunar orbit injection was confirmed -

October 5, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the lunar orbit injection maneuver (LOI1) for the "KAGUYA" (SELENE) at 6:20 a.m. on October 4, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.) The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. As a result of the orbit calculation after the maneuver, we have confirmed that the KAGUYA was injected into the following lunar orbit. The satellite is confirmed to be in good health.

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We are now pleased to be able to report to you that we have safely delivered messages and signs that were collected from 412,627 people around the world through the Wish upon the Moon Campaign and engraved on the sheets to be aboard the KAGUYA to the Moon. We would like to express our profound appreciation to all perticipants and hope your continued support to the KAGUYA mission.

You can also check this information on the following Special Site:

[http://www.jaxa.jp/countdown/f13/]

linked-image

KAGUYA (SELENE) Flight Path to the Moon (Pattern Diagram)

Lunar orbit injection maneuver (LOI1): orbit control to move the KAGUYA to the lunar orbit from the earth orbit (12 in the above figure)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/10

Source: JAXA press release

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dest_titor1

I perfer the idea of using a solar sail to get to the moon, its cheaper than fuel, it is quick, and it works.

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I perfer the idea of using a solar sail to get to the moon, its cheaper than fuel, it is quick, and it works.

Solar sails are likely to be very useful for deep space exploration, however for travel to the moon they are not a good choice.

The vast majority of the fuel usage ig getting the spacecraft into orbit in the first place, relatively little is used to transfer the spacecraft from Earth orbit to Lunar orbit. A solar sail (like ion drive) causes a spacecraft to accelerate very slowly but to maintain that acceleration for months or years. When sending a spacecraft to a target such as Pluto, then this is very useful. The spacecraft will reach far higher velocities (and hence short journey times) than conventional means. In the case of the Moon the target is just too close for their to be any benefit, using a solar sail would lead to a flight time from Earth to the moon not of days but many months.

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A New Lunar Impact Observatory


Note added in press: The Walker County Observatory recorded its first lunar impact on Sept. 19, 2007

Sept. 28, 2007: NASA scientists are proving that you can go home again – if you bring a telescope with you. "Home" is north Georgia's Walker County, where astronomers Bill Cooke and Rob Suggs have just set up a research-grade observatory for their old school system.

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Above: Rob Suggs poses by the new lunar impact
telescope in Walker County, Georgia.


Years ago, they won't say how many, Cooke and Suggs attended the same high school in Walker County and after school they volunteered at the Walker County Science and Technology Center. The center's telescopes fueled their fire for astronomy. They learned to operate the instruments, find their way around the night sky, and they took their first pictures of the Moon.

Now, photographing the Moon is something they do professionally for NASA.

Cooke and Suggs work at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Cooke heads up the Meteoroid Environment Office and Suggs leads the Space Environments team. Together with a half-dozen assistants and colleagues, they specialize in "lunar impact monitoring." In other words, they watch meteorites hit the Moon and explode.

"We've recorded about 30 strikes this year so far," says Cooke. Keeping track of these numbers is important to NASA as the agency lays plans to return to the Moon. "We need to know the odds of habitats and spacecraft getting hit."

Which brings us back to Georgia. Installing a telescope in Walker County not only benefits the local Science Center but also it solves a thorny problem for the lunar monitoring team. Cooke explains:

"At our main observatory in Huntsville, we see a fair amount of man-made space junk passing between us and the Moon. If the junk is tumbling and catches sunlight, it looks like an impact flash."

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Above: A meteorite hits the Moon--recorded from the MSFC's lunar observatory in Huntsville, Alabama, in May 2006. The Walker County Observatory will soon be detecting similar flashes. [More]

"But suppose you have two observatories separated by some distance—say, one telescope in Alabama and one in Georgia. Then we can tell the difference between a tumbling satellite and a genuine impact. A real impact flash would be seen by both telescopes at the same location on the Moon. A tumbling satellite, on the other hand, will glint differently at the two locations."

Using the internet, NASA will monitor Walker County telescope data remotely ten days each month when the Moon is properly situated for viewing impacts. The Science and Technology Center will use the telescope the rest of the time.

"It opens up a whole new world of potential science fair projects for them," says Cooke.

The Meteoroid Office chose this rural county as a home for the telescope because it was a perfect fit. For one thing, Cooke knew that the Science and Technology Center had won a Space Telescope Science Institute grant to help build a new planetarium. "The old planetarium I used as a kid was bull-dozed," says Cooke. "We felt the telescope would be a natural adjunct to the new planetarium."

"The center also has beautifully flat horizons – no trees. It's all clear for viewing. And Rob and I have known the Walker County School District's Science and Technology Coordinator, Wayne Robinson, for years. He can fix the telescope if anything breaks down. It's a win-win situation."

Robinson agrees.

"Having the NASA lunar observatory at our center will pay tremendous dividends for years to come," he says. "Images from the telescope will inspire our students to know more about space science and astronomy. We'll also project the images on to a 40 foot diameter dome, providing audiences with a combination of simulated night sky and real time images. If there ever was a win-win situation, this is it."

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Above: Star cluster M13 photographed by the
lunar impact telescope in Walker County.
More sample images: Ring Nebula, Lagoon Nebula.


The $15,000 telescope has a 14-inch diameter mirror and will observe from within an 8-foot by 8-foot building with a roll-top roof.

End of story? Not quite. Robinson won't let you go without sharing a tale about Cooke's younger days.

"We used to put on Christmas programs in the old planetarium," recalls Robinson. "I remember one in particular. The planetarium director turned on a black light to reveal wise men and camels. But the black lights revealed something else too. Bill and some other volunteers had secretly placed big signs that said, Wise Men on Strike and Demand Better Camels."

"Needless to say, the event is legendary to this day."

Warning to the next generation: Cooke is back, and he's bringing a telescope with him.


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

____________________________________________

More Information

NASA Meteoroid Environment Office -- home page

A Meteoroid Hits the Moon -- (Science@NASA) The best recording to-date of a lunar explosion in progress.

An Explosion on the Moon -- (Science@NASA) A piece of Comet Encke hits Mare Imbrium causing an explosion visible from Earth

NASA's Future: The Vision for Space Exploration

Source: Science@NASA

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Result of the Separation of the Relay Satellite (Rstar)

and

Moon Images Shot by the KAGUYA Onboard Camera

October 9, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the separation operation of one of the onboard baby satellites, the Relay Satellite (Rstar,) of the "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) and the Rstar was released at 9:36 a.m. on October 9 (Japan Standard Time, JST). The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. Both the KAGUYA and Rstar are confirmed to be in good health.

Images of the separation of the Rstar taken by the KAGUYA onboard camera are shown in Attachment 1.

In addition, Moon images taken by one of the KAGUYA's onboard cameras, the high-gain antenna monitor camera, are also available in Attachment 2.

You can also check this information on the following Special Site:

The Relay Satellite (Rstar):

an onboard baby satellite of the KAGUYA that is the first satellite that can observe the magnetic field of the backside of the Moon. The Rstar will observe the Moon's gravity field more accurately by using a method called "radio interference" with the other baby satellite, the VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometer) satellite.

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

Attachment 1

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Before separation

(On the left is the Rstar, and on the right is the VRAD satellite.)

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After separation

(The Rstar has been released and moving toward the upper left of the image. The right one, the VRAD satellite, is scheduled to be released on Oct. 12.)

Attachment 2

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The upper right dark area is ocean, the west rim of the Oceanus Procellarum.

(The image was taken around 2:50 p.m. on Oct. 5 (JST) about 1,500 km from the Moon.)

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Almost the same area as the left image, but closer to the Moon

(The image was taken around 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 5 (JST) about 1,200 km from the Moon)

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A boundary in the lower left is the line between the area that receives sunshine and the shaded area at around 80 degrees north latitude. It was too dark to observe the North Pole.

(The image was taken around 3:10 p.m. on Oct. 5 (JST) about 800 km from the Moon.)

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/10

Source: JAXA press release

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Result of the Separation of the VRAD Satellite (Vstar)

October 12, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the separation operation of one of the onboard baby satellites, the VRAD (Very Long Baseline Interferometer) Satellite* of the "KAGUYA" (SELENE.) The VRAD satellite was released at 1:28 p.m. on October 12, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST). The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer that was launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007, (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. Both the KAGUYA and VRAD satellite are confirmed to be in good health.

Images of the separation of the VRAD satellite taken by the KAGUYA onboard camera are shown in Attachment.

The other baby satellite, the Relay satellite, and the VRAD satellite are respectively nicknamed "OKINA" meaning an "honorable elderly man" and "OUNA" meaning an "honorable elderly woman."**

You can also check this information on the following Special Site:

* VRAD Satellite: a baby satellite of the KAGUYA that is equipped with a radiowave source for observing the gravity field of the Moon

** OKINA and OUNA

"OKINA" and "OUNA" were selected from nominations proposed by the people related to the SELENE project. The names stem from the Japanese classic story The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (Taketori Monogatari,) which most Japanese are very familiar with, as the "KAGUYA" originates from "Kaguya-hime (Princess Kaguya)" in that tale. Princess Kaguya was found by an old man ("OKINA") in a bamboo and was brought up by the man and his wife ("OUNA") with great care. Please refer to the following website for the outline of the tale.

[http://www.jaxa.jp/countdown/f13/special/nickname_e.html]

The Relay and VRAD satellites are flying in a higher orbit than the main satellite, KAGUYA, as if they are watching over the KAGUYA as its guardians. Therefore, we selected "OKINA" and "OUNA" as their nicknames.

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

Attachment

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Before separation

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After separation

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/10

Source: JAXA press release

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LRO Assembly Progress

linked-image

October 12, 2007 - The LRO team completed the last of over 200 welds on the propulsion module. We will now pressurize the system and check for leaks. After this proof pressure testing, we need to finish wiring the heaters and thermostats, then we will perform a shake test. The spacecraft bus structure is undergoing testing in the static loads facility. We will pull on parts of the spacecraft to ensure that all the joints can handle the stresses induced by the forces of the launch environment. The flight C&DH box is completely assembled and we are preparing for a thermal test.

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO

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