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Exploration Of The Moon

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Completion of the Critical Phase

October 21, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) injected the KAGUYA main satellite in its scheduled orbit and shifted its operation mode to the regular control mode. Both the KAGUYA main satellite and its two baby satellites are in good health. The "KAGUYA" (SELENE) is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007, (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

We completed the KAGUYA’s critical phase and are now moving to the initial functional verification phase.

During the verification phase, we will check out onboard equipment in the current lunar orbit until mid December, then start regular observations.

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 and tracking operation of the KAGUYA.

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

Critical phase: a period starting from launch through being ready for initial functional verification including payload separation from the launch vehicle, injection into the lunar orbit, and shift to a regular control mode.

Regular control mode: attitude control method of a satellite with three axis control to observe the Moon's surface by having the observation equipment face the moon at all times.

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

Mission website:

Index for 2007/10

Source: JAXA press release

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Chang'e-1 - new mission to Moon lifts off


24 October 2007

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An artist's impression of the Chang'e-1 spacecraft

Credits: CNSA


A bold new mission to the Moon was launched today by the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). Chang’e-1 blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, Sichuan, atop a Long March 3A rocket.

Chang’e-1 represents the first step in the Chinese ambition to land robotic explorers on the Moon before 2020.

Chang’e-1 has four mission goals to accomplish. The first is to make three-dimensional images of many lunar landforms and outline maps of major lunar geological structures. This mapping will include the first detailed images taken of some regions near the lunar poles.

Chang’e-1 is also designed to analyze the abundance of up to 14 chemical elements and their distribution across the lunar surface. Thirdly it will measure the depth of the lunar soil and lastly it will explore the space weather between the Earth and the Moon.

The spacecraft is large, weighing in at 2350 kg and it will operate from a low, circular lunar orbit, just 200 km above the surface of the Moon. From here, it will perform its science mission for a full year.

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Telescopic view of the whole Moon seen from Earth.

SMART-1 is Europe's first mission to the Moon. The scientists taking part have a 21st-Century view of our companion in space, which makes our connection with it more intimate than ever. The Moon is no longer seen merely as a satellite, but as the Earth's daughter, forming in a double planet.

Credits: ESA


ESA is collaborating with the Chinese on this mission by providing spacecraft and ground operations support services to CNSA. The two agencies will also share data and encourage a visitors’ programme so that researchers can learn from each other.

During ESA’s SMART-1 mission, the Agency provided the Chinese with details of the spacecraft's position and transmission frequencies, so that the Chinese could test their tracking stations and ground operations by following it. This was part of their preparation for Chang’e-1. Now it is time for Chang’e-1 itself to fly.

Hermann Opgenoorth, Head of ESA’s Solar System Missions Division says, “Participation in Chang’e-1 gives European scientists and ESA experts a welcome opportunity to maintain and pass on their expertise and to continue their scientific work. Based on the experience gained with this first mission, we intended to cooperate on the next missions in China's Chang’e line of lunar explorers.”

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An artist's impression of the Chang'e-1 spacecraft

Credits: CNSA


To perform its science mission, Chang’e-1 carries a variety of instruments: a CCD stereo camera, a laser altimeter, an imaging interferometer, a gamma-ray/X-ray spectrometer, a microwave radiometer, a high-energy particle detector, and a solar wind particle detector.

Named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang’e-1 represents the first phase in the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP). This programme is expected to last until around 2020 and the next phase will include a lander and associated rover. Looking farther into the future, plans are being drawn up for a sample return mission to bring lunar rocks to Earth for analysis.

"ESA's expertise in tracking Chang'e-1 sets the stage for future cooperation with China. The Agency's tracking station network, ESTRACK, is a resource that benefits not only the Agency but also all space science through such international cooperation," said Erik Soerensen, Head of the System Requirements and Validation Section at ESA's European Space Operations Centre.


For more information:

Hermann Opgenoorth, ESA Head of Solar System Missions Division
Email: Hermann.Opgenoorth @ esa.int

Detlef Koschny, ESA Chang'e-1 Project Scientist
Email: Detlef.Koschny @ esa.int

Source: ESA - Space Science - News

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LRO Assembly Progress

linked-image

The Power System Electronics (PSE) is in the

vibration laboratory. This test will ensure that

the box can handle the rigors of riding on a rocket.

October 25, 2007 - The LRO propulsion module (left side of photo) completed its proof pressure testing and sharing the "Big Top" clean tent with the SDO propulsion module. Work is continuing on the heater circuits, which will prevent the fuel from freezing during flight.

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO

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ESA tracking support essential to Chinese mission


26 October 2007

linked-image
15m antenna at Kourou station


The ESA ground station network is being mobilised to provide direct support to China's Chang'E-1 Moon mission. Three ESTRACK stations will be used to track Chang'E-1 on the flight to the Moon and during the critical Moon orbit insertion.

The mission was launched on 24 October 2007 at 10:05 UTC (12:05 CEST) from Launch Pad 3 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west China's Sichuan Province.

Engineers at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany, will be 'on the loop' - in voice communication - with Chinese mission controllers at BACC, the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Centre, starting on 1 November.

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An artist's impression of the Chang'e-1 spacecraft

Credits: CNSA


ESA's 15m European Space Tracking (ESTRACK) network stations at Maspalomas (Spain) and Kourou (French Guiana) will be used at the start of ESA's tracking campaign.

These will be joined later by ESTRACK's DS1 - the giant 35m deep-space station at New Norcia, Australia.

The three will rotate tracking duties during Chang'E-1's cruise to the Moon, and will be in contact during the critical orbit insertion manoeuvres, scheduled for 5, 6 and 7 November.


ESTRACK essential for success

At certain points, Chang'E-1 will not be visible from China's own tracking stations, making ESTRACK support essential for mission success.

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ESA's first 35-metre deep-space ground station is situated at New Norcia, 140 kilometres north of Perth in Australia. The 630 tonne antenna will be used to track Rosetta and Mars Express, the latter to be launched in 2003, as well as other missions in deep space. The ground station was officially opened on 5 March 2003 by the Premier of Western Australia, Hon Dr Geoff Gallop.

Credits: ESA


"There has been a lot of preparation on the ESTRACK side, but we're ready to go," said John Reynolds, Operations Manager for ESTRACK in support to Chang'E-1.

ESA previously provided ESTRACK services to China for the Double Star mission, which conducted joint studies - together with ESA's Cluster - of the Sun's effects on the Earth's environment.

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Engineers in the ECC monitor in detail the status of the equipment at all ESA ground stations (more than 2000 parameters per station) 24 hours/day, 7 days/week; they are also able to swiftly re configure the stations to provide support to a particular spacecraft via a set of predefined commands.

Credits: ESA/ESOC


ESA stations are remotely controlled from the ESTRACK Control Centre (ECC) located at ESOC, and are normally unmanned for routine operations. For Chang'E-1, engineers will be on duty at the three stations involved to provide quick response in the event of any technical problems.

Scientists, engineers and ground control experts from ESOC have spent months working to ensure that Chang'E-1 support goes off without a glitch. Preparations included a series of joint meetings in Beijing and Darmstadt, use of ESOC's reference station for testing, and upgrading station software. ESTRACK controllers have also participated in simulations with their Chinese counterparts.


"ESA's expertise in tracking Chang'E-1 sets the stage for future cooperation with China. The Agency's ESTRACK network is a resource that benefits not only the Agency but also all space science through such international cooperation," said Erik Soerensen, Head of the System Requirements and Validation Section at ESOC.


Extending cooperation and sharing benefits

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The Maspalomas station is located in the southern part of the Gran Canaria island (Spain) on the campus of the Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial (INTA). The antenna is operated by INTA in cooperation with Ingenieria y Servicios Aerospatiales (INSA). It hosts a 15-metre antenna with reception in both S- and X-band and transmission in S-band. In addition there is an antenna for the Global Positioning System – Tracking and Data Facility (GPS-TDAF). Experts used the station for Cluster and SMART-1 during their Routine phases.

Credits: ESA


In return for ESA's tracking services, China will share scientific data generated by the mission and the two agencies will also establish a visitors' programme so that researchers can learn from each other (see New mission to the Moon lifts off).

During ESA's SMART-1 mission, which ended in September 2006, the agency provided China with details of the spacecraft's position and transmission frequencies so that the Chinese could test their tracking stations and ground operation procedures by following it - a part of their preparation for Chang'E-1.

First step in China's Lunar Exploration Program

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Chang'E soaring to the Moon
-- An ancient Chinese legend

Chang'E, a beautiful lady, who swallowed a western queen's elixir, soared with a white rabbit to the Moon, which was called 'Ever Cold Palace' in ancient China.

The story is regarded as a reflection of the everlasting yearning of Chinese to explore our boundless universe. The lunar crater Chang-Ngo is named after her.

Credits: Project Gutenberg


Chang'E-1 represents the first step in China's plans to land robotic explorers on the Moon before 2020. The spacecraft is large, weighing in at 2350 kg, and it will operate from a low, circular lunar orbit, just 200 km above the surface of the Moon. From here, it will perform its science mission for a full year.

Named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang'E-1 is the first phase in the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP).

This programme is expected to last until around 2020 and the next phase will include a lander and associated rover. Looking farther into the future, plans are being drawn up for a sample return mission to bring lunar rocks to Earth for analysis.

Source: ESA - News

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NASA to Establish Nationwide Lunar Science Institute


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:

Oct. 30, 2007
Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

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


RELEASE: 07-233

NASA to Establish Nationwide Lunar Science Institute


WASHINGTION - NASA has announced its intent to establish a new lunar science institute. This effort, with dispersed teams across the nation, will help lead the agency's research activities for future lunar science missions related to NASA's exploration goals.

Named the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), the effort will be managed from NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, Calif. Ames currently manages a similar distributed NASA Astrobiology Institute.

NLSI's operations are expected to begin March 1, 2008. NLSI will augment other, already established lunar science investigations funded by NASA by encouraging the formation of interdisciplinary research teams that are larger than those currently at work in lunar science.

"I am excited about NLSI," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "As the National Academy of Sciences has told us, the science to be done at the moon and from the moon are of high value, and NLSI will help us coordinate and expand a number of in-depth research efforts in lunar science and other fields that can benefit from human and robotic missions that are part of NASA's exploration plans."

NLSI research teams will address current topics in basic lunar science, and perhaps astronomical, solar and Earth science investigations that could be performed from the moon. They also will offer a quick response capability for lunar science support to NASA's Exploration initiative.

A national search for a NLSI director is currently underway. Most work done under NLSI's banner will take place at other NASA centers, universities and non-profit research groups around the nations. These groups will be competitively selected after scientific peer review.

Initially, NASA will select four or five teams for grants of $1 to $2 million each for three years, with renewals of up to five years. NASA will solicit team proposals in a 2008 NASA Research Announcement.

By late 2008, about 50 researchers around the U.S. could be working under NLSI's banner. By 2010, that number could double. Funds for this effort are part of the president's proposed 2008 NASA budget for the lunar science project within the planetary research program, now under consideration in Congress.

"We're delighted NASA Ames was chosen to lead this exciting new lunar science research office," said S. Pete Worden, Ames center director. "This will complement the agency's ongoing lunar research and further the implementation of the nation's exploration efforts."

The lunar science institute is modeled after the highly successful NASA Astrobiology Institute, based at Ames. Established in 1997, the NASA Astrobiology Institute promotes, conducts and leads integrated multidisciplinary astrobiology research in addition to training a new generation of astrobiology researchers.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
_http://www.nasa.gov

- end -

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


Source: NASA Press Release 07-2331 Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Status of Deployment/Extension of Onboard Mission Equipment

October 31, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) carried out the following deployment operations on the onboard mission equipment of the “KAGUYA” (SELENE) between October 28 and 31, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.) The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer launched from the Tanegashima Space Center. The satellite is in good health.

-Lunar magnetometer (LMAG)

Equipment for observing the lunar magnetic field. A mast in which the magnetometer is attached at the top was extended to about 12 meters to be ready for observation. (See Figure 2)

-Lunar Radar Sounder (LRS)

Equipment to measure lunar tectonic features up to about 5 km in depth by observing radio frequency reflection from the lunar surface and subsurface using radar radio wave. The LRS also observes radio frequencies from other planets when the satellite is on the back side of the moon where no artificial radio waves from the Earth interfere with the observations. Two units of two dipole antennas (four antennas in total,) which had been stowed into the satellite, were extended to about 15 meters to be ready for observation. (Figure 3)

- Upper Atmosphere and Plasma Imager (UPI)

Equipment to observe atmospheric lights and auroras from the lunar orbit by two kinds of telescopes. The telescopes are attached to a structure called the “gimbal,” which had been fixed on the satellite wall. The gimbal was deployed for observation. (Figure 4)

* You can also check this information on the following website:

<Figure 1: KAGUYA Overview>

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<Figure 2: LMAG Mast Extension Image>

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Figure 2 was taken after the LMAG mast had been extended by the monitor camera to confirm the separation of the “OKINA” and the “OUNA.” (① in Figure 1) The mast had been shortened to be about 60 cm for launch, and was fully extended to 12 m. The magnetometer is attached at the tip of the mast.

<Figure 3: LRS Antenna Extension Image>

linked-image

The LRS consists of four 15-meter antennas, and Figure 3 shows the extension of one of the four antennas taken by the monitor camera for confirming the separation of the “OKINA” and the “OUNA.” (① in Figure 1)

<Figure 4: UPI Deployment Images>

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The UPI observes Earth auroras and other phenomena using two telescopes, a visible and extreme ultra-violet telescope, attached to the structure that automatically tracks the Earth (② in Figure 1.)

linked-image

Source: JAXA press release (pdf document)

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First-ever ESA telecommands transmitted to Chinese satellite


1 November 2007

linked-image
ESA's first 35-metre deep-space ground station is situated at New Norcia, 140 kilometres north of Perth in Australia. The 630 tonne antenna will be used to track Rosetta and Mars Express, the latter to be launched in 2003, as well as other missions in deep space. The ground station was officially opened on 5 March 2003 by the Premier of Western Australia, Hon Dr Geoff Gallop.

Credits: ESA


For the first time, ESA tracking stations have transmitted telecommands to a Chinese satellite. This morning at 07:15 CET (06:15 UTC), China's mission control reported that commands transmitted from Maspalomas station had been successfully received by the Chang'e-1 Moon mission.

ESA ground tracking support to China's Chang'e-1 successfully started on 1 November 2007 at 04:35 CET (03:35 UTC) with the first receipt of telemetry signals from the Chinese mission at ESA's 35m deep-space station at New Norcia, Australia.

Two hours and 39 minutes later, the first telecommands to Chang'e-1 were transmitted via ESA's 15m station in Maspalomas, Spain, when the Chinese satellite was nearly 200 000 km from Maspalomas station. An hour later, the ESA station in Kourou, French Guiana, also successfully received telemetry and transmitted commands to Chang'e-1.

linked-image
The ESA ground station at Maspalomas, Canary Islands, is located in the southern part of the Gran Canaria island on the campus of the Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial (INTA). The antenna is operated by INTA in cooperation with Ingenieria y Servicios Aerospatiales (INSA).

Credits: ESA


New Norcia, Maspalomas and Kourou stations are part of ESA's ESTRACK ground station network, and are remotely controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany.

The successful communications mark a major milestone as this is the first time a telecommand to a Chinese spacecraft has been transmitted from an ESA station. In addition to receipt of telemetry and transmission of telecommands, the Maspalomas and Kourou stations also performed ranging and Doppler measurements used to determine the spacecraft's location and direction.


"The support began as planned and without any problems. We were confident it would work given the extensive preparations and intensive testing we did in close cooperation with the Chinese," said Erik Soerensen, Head of the System Requirements and Validation Section at ESOC.


Time-line to success

This morning, engineers working in ESOC's ESTRACK Control Centre reported the following series of events (times in CET = UTC+1):

linked-image


Source: ESA - News

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LRO Assembly Progress
11.02.2007 -The LRO Power System Electronics (PSE) completed its vibration testing this week. The photo above shows our PSE lead, Amri Hernández-Pellerano, with the PSE in the vibration laboratory. The PSE's cables are attached so that the box can be powered during the test. The large grey unit on the left shakes the plate holding the box, simulating the rigors of riding on a rocket.

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

World’s First Image Taking of the Moon by HDTV

November 7, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image taking by the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km on October 18, 2007, (Japan Standard Time. Following times and dates are all JST.)

The image shooting was carried out by the onboard high definition television (HDTV) of the KAGUYA, and it is the world's first high definition image data acquisition of the Moon from an altitude about 100 kilometers away from the Moon.

The image taking was performed twice on October 31. Both were eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute.) The first shooting covered from the northern area of the "Oceanus Procellarum" toward the center of the North Pole, then the second one was from the south to the north on the western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum." The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center, and processed by NHK.

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

Moon Images Shot by the Onboard HDTV of the KAGUYA

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North Pole Area (still image cut out from the first image shooting)

This is a still image taken out from the first moving image shooting when the KAGUYA flew from the northern area of the "Oceanus Procellarum"(*1) to the center of the North Pole.

As the altitude near the North Pole is high, the angle of the coming sunlight was lower, thus the shade of the crater topography looks long in the image.

The moving image was taken at 4:07 a.m. on October 31, 2007 (JST) by eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute) from the KAGUYA, and the data was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center on the same day.

(*1) Oceanus Procellarum:

The dark area on the Moon's surface called "ocean." It is located at the left end of the northern hemisphere on the front side of the Moon when we look up at it from the Earth.

linked-image
(2) The western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum" (cut out from the second image shooting)

This is a still image taken out from the second moving image shooting when the KAGUYA flew from the south to the north on the western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum."

The dark part on the right of the above image is the Ocean (Oceanus Procellarum,) and the light area on the left is called the "highland."

The moving image was taken at 5:51 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2007 (JST) by eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute) from the KAGUYA, and the data was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center on the same day.

linked-image
(3) The west side of the "Oceanus Procellarum" (cut out from the second image shooting)

This is a still image taken out from the end part of the second moving image taking.

We can observe a crater called "Repsold," whose diameter is 107 km, at the center on the near side of this image. The channel that crosses this crater is called the "Repsold Valley," and its length is about 180 km (equivalent to the distance between Tokyo and Shizuoka on the Tokaido Line in Japan.) The shooting time was the same as the above (2.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reference

(1) First shooting

The area around the North Pole shot by the first image taking (encircled by a blue line) and KAGUYA's orbit (red arrow)

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(2) Second shooting

The west area of the "Oceanus Procellarum" shot by the second image taking (encircled by a blue line) and KAGUYA's orbit (red arrow)

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Reference sauce : USRA

_http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/mapcatalog/LMP/

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The High Definition Television (prior to loading on the KAGUYA)

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

Mission website:

SELenological and ENgineering Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE)

Source: JAXA press release

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LRO Assembly Progress
11.08.2007 -The LEND instrument engineering unit is in the Flatsat lab undergoing interface testing. The Flatsat lab contains engineering unit versions of the spacecraft electronics. We use this test bed to verify software performance, check out test procedures, test out operations procedures, and verify interfaces. The successful interface test with the LEND engineering unit yesterday allowed us to try out all of our functional tests of LEND, so we will be ready to run when the flight unit arrives next month.

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Image Taking of Earth-Rise by HDTV

November 13, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image taking of an Earth-rise* by the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km on October 18, 2007 (Japan Standard Time. Following times and dates are all JST.)

The Apollo project was the first mission to take images of Earth rising over the Moon. The KAGUYA successfully shot high-definition images of the Earth-rise showing an impressive image of the blue Earth which was the only floating object in pitch-dark space. These are the world's first high-definition earth images taken from about 380,000 km away from the earth in space.

The image taking was performed by the KAGUYA's onboard high definition television (HDTV) for space use developed by NHK. The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center, and processed by NHK.

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

* Note: we use the expression "Earth-rise" in this press release, but the Earth-rise is a phenomenon seen only from satellites that travel around the Moon, such as the KAGUYA and the Apollo space ship. The Earth-rise cannot be observed by a person who is on the Moon as they can always see the Earth at the same position.

Earth-rise Images Wide Shot by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA

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Figure 1: Earth-rise image shot taken by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA

This still image was cut out from a moving image (wide shot) taken by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA at 2:52 p.m. on November 7, 2007 (JST) then sent to the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center.

In the image, the Moon's surface is near the North Pole, and the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean can be observed on the Earth.

Earth-set Images Tele Shot by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA

linked-image

Figure 2: Earth-set image shot by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA

This still image was cut out from a moving image (tele shot) taken by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA at 12:07 p.m. on November 7, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST,) then sent to the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center.

In the image, the Moon's surface is near the South Pole, and we can see the Australian Continent (center left) and the Asian Continent (lower right) on the Earth. (In this image, the upper side of the Earth is the Southern Hemisphere, thus the Australian Continent looks upside-down.)

The images below are the Earth setting to the horizon near the Moon's South Pole. It took about 70 seconds from the left image to the right image (complete setting.)

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Figure 3: Earth setting image shot by the HDTV onboard the KAGUYA

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Figure 4: Relative locations of the KAGUYA, the Moon, and the Earth

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Figure 5: Position of the HDTV

linked-image

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

Mission website:

SELenological and ENgineering Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE)

Source: JAXA press release

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CiCi

Those are some of the most beautiful images I have seen. :)

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Waspie_Dwarf

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Observation by Terrain Camera (TC)

and Multi-band Imager (MI)

November 16, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) carried out an observation using two onboard sensors of the Moon Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) the Terrain Camera (TC) and Multi-band Imager (MI,) on November 3, 2007, processed the acquired data, and confirmed they were functioning properly. The observation was part of the initial functional verification of the KAGUYA, which had been injected into the Moon's orbit at an altitude of about 100 km. In a global first, both three-dimensional (stereo) observations of the Moon by the TC with a 10-meter aerial resolution and a multi-band observations by the MI with a 20-meter aerial resolution of the Moon's backside and near polar were taken.

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

Terrain Camera (TC)

The Terrain Camera (TC) can observe the day-time side of the Moon using two cameras that respectively face the slightly diagonal front and back sides of the straight down direction of the satellite. It can take three-dimensional (stereo) images of the Moon's globe with a world-leading super high definition of 10 m. At the initial functional verification of the TC on November 3, 2007, three-dimensional view observations were successfully performed of the summer season around the South Pole of the Moon (Figure 1 and 2.) After the observation, three-dimensional terrain images were composed based on the stereo view observation data (Figure 3.)

Accurate, three-dimensional terrain images acquired by stereo observation of the TC high resolution camera are important data to elucidate the development process of the Moon's unique terrain. With detailed investigation of the crater distribution, we can estimate more precisely when each area of the Moon has been formed and can study more details of when the Moon was born and how its inside and surface have been changing. Furthermore, data acquired by the TC is expected to be useful for studying topographical characteristics and daylight conditions to determine the best location for a future Moon station and to consider manned activities on the Moon.

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Figure 2: Comparison between the KAGUYA TC image and the Clementine image

You can see the comparison between the image taken by the KAGUYA TC cut out from the TC's first image data (the area encircled by the yellow dot square in Figure 1) and the image shot by the high aerial resolution camera onboard the Clementine Satellite. In the TC camera image, you can see that the smaller craters (10-90 meters in size) and the minute structure of the inside of a crater.

linked-image linked-image

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Figure 3: Three-dimensional terrain images by TC camera stereo view data

The above images were composed by using the stereo view observation data shown in Figure 1.

Upper left: view from west to east. Upper right: from south to north. Lower left: from north to south. Lower right: from east to west.

Continued below...

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...continued from above.

Multi-band Imager (MI)

The Multi-band Imager (MI) is observation equipment to measure mineral distribution by analyzing the reflection of nine observation bands of visible to near infrared band widths. The initial functional verification for the MI was held on November 3, 2007, and the first Moon observation was successfully performed. By comparing different band images (comparative calculation), the MI can acquire detailed geological information including mineral distribution as well as distribution of material that has been dug up by crater formation (Figure 1 and 2.) The MI has an aerial resolution of 20 meters (maximum), thus its resolution was improved by one digit compared to the former Moon explorers (Figure 3.) With the MI, we can acquire various information about geological formation that has occurred over the past several billions of years on the Moon's surface, and that is expected to be useful for significantly improving our study on the origin and development of the Moon and for contributing to future manned activities on the Moon through various findings including the clarification of the distribution of useful minerals.

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Figure 1 First Image taken by the KAGUYA MI

The color image of the Moon (quasi color image) was composed by applying red, green and blue respectively to three bands, namely 900nm, 700nm and 415nm, of the nine bands of MI. The comparative computation image shows the comparison of the strength of two bands, 750 nm and 1,000 nm. By processing image data acquired by multiple band widths, we can learn the volume and scattered direction of material dug up to the surface from the inside and chemical composition of materials existing underneath craters. Such information is necessary for studying the scale and direction of a collision when a crater was formed. The image was not calibrated yet, but, by comparative calculation, we can more clearly see the inconsistency of the distribution of material scattered around the crater compared to in a single-band image. The red to yellow (then yellow-green) areas indicate that more dub-up material exists there due to crater formation on highlands anorthosite surface soil (in dark blue).

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Figure 2: Location of the MI first image

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Left: Multi-band Imager (750 nm single-band image with 20 m resolution), Right: Clementine UV-VIS camera (100 m resolution)

Figure 3 Comparison between the KAGUYA MI image and the Clementine ultraviolet/visible band camera image (enlargement of the area encircled by the yellow dot square in Figure 1)

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

Mission website:

SELenological and ENgineering Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE)

Source: JAXA press release

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LRO Assembly Progress
November 19, 2007 - TThis photo shows the LOLA instrument undergoing receiver testing. The instrument is the gold-colored box mounted to a supporting frame and pointed downward. The black optics underneath are directing light into the receiver telescope. The laserÕs beam expander is to the right of the receiver telescope.

This week, the LOLA team held a review of the plans for environmental testing. The instrument has successfully completed all of its performance testing. We will now subject the instrument to the rigors of space travel, then test its performance again.

+ LRO Assembly History

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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Astronomers Say Moons Like Ours Are Uncommon
11.20.07


The next time you take a moonlit stroll, or admire a full, bright-white moon looming in the night sky, you might count yourself lucky. New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggest that moons like Earth's - that formed out of tremendous collisions - are uncommon in the universe, arising at most in only 5 to 10 percent of planetary systems.

"When a moon forms from a violent collision, dust should be blasted everywhere," said Nadya Gorlova of the University of Florida, Gainesville, lead author of a new study appearing Nov. 20 in the Astrophysical Journal. "If there were lots of moons forming, we would have seen dust around lots of stars - but we didn't."

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Image above: Our Earth-moon system, photographed here by NASA's
Galileo spacecraft in 1992, might be somewhat uncommon in the universe.
New evidence from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that moons
that formed like ours - out of colossal collisions between rocky bodies -
might arise in, at most, 5 to 10 percent of planetary systems.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech
+ Larger view


It's hard to imagine Earth without a moon. Our familiar white orb has long been the subject of art, myth and poetry. Wolves howl at it, and humans have left footprints in its soil. Life itself might have evolved from the ocean to land thanks to tides induced by the moon's gravity.

Scientists believe the moon arose about 30 to 50 million years after our sun was born, and after our rocky planets had begun to take shape. A body as big as Mars is thought to have smacked into our infant Earth, breaking off a piece of its mantle. Some of the resulting debris fell into orbit around Earth, eventually coalescing into the moon we see today. The other moons in our solar system either formed simultaneously with their planet or were captured by their planet's gravity.

Gorlova and her colleagues looked for the dusty signs of similar smash-ups around 400 stars that are all about 30 million years old - roughly the age of our sun when Earth's moon formed. They found that only 1 out of the 400 stars is immersed in the telltale dust. Taking into consideration the amount of time the dust should stick around, and the age range at which moon-forming collisions can occur, the scientists then calculated the probability of a solar system making a moon like Earth's to be at most 5 to 10 percent.

"We don't know that the collision we witnessed around the one star is definitely going to produce a moon, so moon-forming events could be much less frequent than our calculation suggests," said George Rieke of the University of Arizona, Tucson, a co-author of the study.

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Image above: This artist's animation shows bodies as big as mountain
ranges smashing together. Such collisions form the basis of the planet-
building process. An even bigger collision between Earth and a body the
size of Mars is thought to have created our moon.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech
+ Play animation (Quicktime - 833Kb)
+ High resolution formats


In addition, the observations tell astronomers that the planet-building process itself winds down by 30 million years after a star is born. Like our moon, rocky planets are built up through messy collisions that spray dust all around. Current thinking holds that this process lasts from about 10 to 50 million years after a star forms. The fact that Gorlova and her team found only 1 star out of 400 with collision-generated dust indicates that the 30-million-year-old stars in the study have, for the most part, finished making their planets.

"Astronomers have observed young stars with dust swirling around them for more than 20 years now," said Gorlova. "But those stars are usually so young that their dust could be left over from the planet-formation process. The star we have found is older, at the same age our sun was when it had finished making planets and the Earth-moon system had just formed in a collision."

For moon lovers, the news isn't all bad. For one thing, moons can form in different ways. And, even though the majority of rocky planets in the universe might not have moons like Earth's, astronomers believe there are billions of rocky planets out there. Five to 10 percent of billions is still a lot of moons.

Other authors of the paper include: Zoltan Balog, James Muzerolle, Kate Y. L. Su and Erick T. Young of the University of Arizona, and Valentin D. Ivanov of the European Southern Observatory, Chile.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about Spitzer, visit _http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer and _http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/spitzer.

Media contact: Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

2007-132


Source: NASA - Spitzer - News And Media Resources

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magnetar

After all the press about dusty systems, and rocky planets that might be forming in the galaxy, thanks to the likes of Spitzer. Now we find out that the formation of the Moon is less common than one might presume. Only several percent chance.

They form in other ways, though. We see alot of that, in our own solar system.

Think of all the Moon has meant, or the influences it had.

That is a good article, Waspie. 30 million years was an interesting number. That really puts things into some perspective, for other stars like the Sun.

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China publishes first moon picture

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This file photo released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Nov. 26, 2007 shows China's first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1, China's first lunar orbiter, marking the full success of its lunar probe project.

Source: CNSA

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Composition of 3-D Movies with Terrain Camera Images

November 28, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully demonstrated production of stereo movies (3 dimensional movies) of the Moon surface by using stereoscopic images obtained with the Terrain Camera (TC) onboard KAGUYA on Nov. 3, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST). This verification was performed as part of the initial check out of mission instruments onboard "KAGUYA" (SELENE), which was injected into the Moon's orbit at an altitude of about 100 km. These are the first 3-D movies of the Moon including its polar areas with an aerial resolution of 10 meters.

Anaglyph images*1 and movies were also produced.

*1: Anaglyph images are 3-D images viewed with red and blue 3-D glasses

Terrain Camera (TC)

The Terrain Camera (TC) can observe the Moon surface during the day-time of the Moon using two cameras that respectively face the slightly diagonal fore looking and aft looking of the satellite. It can take three-dimensional (stereo) images of the Moon's globe with a world's first super high definition of 10 m.

Three-dimensional terrain images acquired by TC high resolution stereo pair cameras are important data to study the evolution process of the Moon's unique terrain. With detailed investigation of the crater distribution, we can estimate more precisely when each area of the Moon has been formed and can study more details of when the Moon was born and how its inside and surface have been changing. Furthermore, data acquired by the TC is expected to be useful for studying topographical characteristics and illumination map to determine the best location for a future Moon base and to consider manned activities on the Moon.

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Figure 1: Still images captured from the 3-D movie produced from the TC data

The mesh spaced by 1 km.

Continued below...

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...continued from above.

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Figure 2: Anaglyph images captured from the movie, composed from the same observation data as those for Figure 1.

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Figure 3: Observation locations for Figure 1 and 2

(Reference) Three-dimensional view theory

People use two eyes for looking at an object from left and right, then compose one three-dimensional image of the object in our brain by combining its left angle and right angle views. The KAGUYA Terrain Camera has two eyes (diagonal front view and back view respectively) of a stereo pair to compose 3D images.

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Reference source: IPA "Educational image material site"

_http://www2.edu.ipa.go.jp/gz/

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

Mission website:

SELenological and ENgineering Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE)

Source: JAXA press release

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LRO Assembly Progress
11.29.2007 - In the photo above, John Bousman at JPL prepares the Diviner instrument for testing. The instrument has completed its EMI and vibration testing, and thermal vacuum started yesterday.

+ LRO Assembly History

Source: NASA/GSFC - LRO

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Northrop Grumman Starts Integration and Test On LCROSS Spacecraft


The Northrop Grumman press release is reproduce below:

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 3, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- A satellite that will impact the Moon in 2009 in a search for water has started to come together in a manufacturing high bay at Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) Space Technology sector. The company is building the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) under contract to NASA Ames Research Center.
Technicians are shown inspecting the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) at Northrop Grumman Space Technology's facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., shortly after the kick off of integration and test. LCROSS is scheduled to launch in winter 2008-2009 timeframe and three months later, the mission will send a spent rocket stage to hit near the moon's south pole while the satellite studies the impact plume for evidence of water and other materials that astronauts could use at a future lunar outpost.

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Technicians are shown inspecting the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) at Northrop Grumman Space Technology's facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., shortly after the kick off of integration and test. LCROSS is scheduled to launch in winter 2008-2009 timeframe and three months later, the mission will send a spent rocket stage to hit near the moon's south pole while the satellite studies the impact plume for evidence of water and other materials that astronauts could use at a future lunar outpost.

Integration and test (I&T) on LCROSS started with preparations for installation of electrical harnesses, following installation of the propulsion subsystem. Work will continue over the next nine months as the spacecraft's subsystems and NASA-provided science payload are integrated onto the spacecraft structure and culminate in environmental testing next summer.

The spacecraft will be delivered to NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida late next summer, with launch scheduled in the winter 2008-2009 timeframe with impact occurring three months later. The impact will send a greater than 250-metric-ton plume higher than 10 kilometers from the Moon's surface that, given clear viewing conditions and an adequate telescope, should be visible from Earth by amateur astronomers.

"This is a fast track program," said Steve Hixson, vice president for Advanced Concepts. "We're using existing technology to build the spacecraft quickly, with low risk and a limited budget. We expect to deliver the spacecraft just 27 months after the kick-off, in less than half the time of a traditional spacecraft development program."

The primary structure for the LCROSS spacecraft is a central cylinder, known as an EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA), or ESPA ring. The ESPA ring is a six-foot-diameter ring with six portholes used to attach the secondary structure for the solar array and radiator panels. The spacecraft subsystems, science instruments and electronics are mounted onto the inside face of the panels.

Each panel can be folded out to a 90-degree angle for easy access and subsystem installation. The modular structure allows subsystems to be integrated as they are received.

The LCROSS spacecraft and avionics are being built by Northrop Grumman under contract to NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. LCROSS will accompany the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on an Atlas launch vehicle, and will search for water and water-bearing compounds at the lunar South Pole to determine if the location has the potential to support future human outposts.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:
Sally Koris
Northrop Grumman Space Technology
310.812.4721
sally.koris@ngc.com



Source: Northrop Grumman press release

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SMART-1: Travel maps of the lunar north pole


5 December 2007

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This mosaic of the lunar north pole was obtained with images taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1. The pictures were taken between May 2005 and February 2006, during different phases of the mission.

The mosaic, composed of about 30 images, covers an area of about 800 by 600 km. The lunar near-side facing Earth is at the bottom of the map, while the far-side is at the top.

When obtaining the images, SMART-1 was flying over the north pole at a distance of about 3000 km, allowing large-field (about 300 km across) and medium-resolution views (300 m/pixel). Each individual image includes areas imaged with colour filters and a more exposed area. The differences have been corrected accordingly to obtain this mosaic.

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


A new map obtained with SMART-1 data shows the geography and illumination of the lunar north pole. Such maps will be of great use for future lunar explorers.

The lunar poles are very interesting for future science and exploration of the Moon mainly because of their exposure to sunlight. They display areas of quasi-eternal light, have a stable thermal environment and are close to dark areas that could host water ice – potential future lunar base sites.

The SMART-1 north pole map, covering an area of about 800 by 600 km, shows geographical locations of some craters of interest. Peary is a large impact crater closest to the north pole. At this latitude the interior of the crater receives little sunlight, but SMART-1 was able to observe it during phases when the crater floor was sufficiently illuminated for imaging.

A previous lunar mission, the U.S. Clementine, observed the Peary crater during the north summer, and identified some areas particularly illuminated by the sun in that season. With its Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) micro-camera, SMART-1 has complemented this data set by identifying the areas that are also well-illuminated during northern winter.

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This mosaic of the lunar north pole was obtained with images taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1. The pictures were taken between May 2005 and February 2006, during different phases of the mission.

The mosaic, composed of about 30 images, covers an area of about 800 by 600 km. The lunar near-side facing Earth is at the bottom of the map, while the far-side is at the top.

A number of interesting lunar craters are indicated.

Peary, visible in the centre of the mosaic, is the crater closest to the lunar north pole. It is nearly circular (about 73 km across), with an eroded rim and a relatively flat crater floor marked by smaller craters inside. The southern part of its interior is permanently in shadow, making it difficult to image. It was named after the American polar explorer Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920).

Byrd, in the bottom-centre part of the mosaic, is a crater about 94 km across. Its rim is eroded, and its floor was once flooded by lava which left it nearly flat. It was named after the American polar explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1957).

Hermite is an impact crater about 104 km across, located along the northern lunar limb, close to the north pole of the Moon. From Earth, this crater is viewed nearly from the side, illuminated by oblique sunlight. It is eroded and has a rugged outer rim, incised from past impacts. Its interior forms a wide plain marked by numerous tiny craters and low hills.

Sylvester, about 58 km in diameter, is an almost-circular lunar impact crater visible on the left-hand side of the image. It is located along the northern limb, and has a sharp-edged rim. Due its location, it only receives sunlight at a low angle. It is named after the English mathematician James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897).

Plaskett crater, about 109 km across, is located on the northern far-side of the Moon, 200 km from the north pole, near the lunar limb. It receives sunlight at a low angle.

When obtaining the images, SMART-1 was flying over the north pole at a distance of about 3000 km, allowing large-field (about 300 km across) and medium-resolution views (300 m/pixel). Each individual image includes areas imaged with colour filters and a more exposed area. The differences have been corrected accordingly to obtain this mosaic.

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


“Solar illumination makes these areas ideal for robotic outposts or lunar bases making use of solar power,” says ESA's SMART-1 Project Scientist, Bernard Foing.

Hermite is another lunar impact crater located along the northern lunar limb, close to the north pole of the Moon. Looking from Earth, it is viewed nearly from the side, illuminated by oblique sunlight.

Crater Plaskett is located on the northern far-side of the Moon, about 200 km from the north pole. It receives sunlight at a low angle. Because of the isolation of this crater and its location near the lunar limb, it has been suggested as a possible additional site of a future lunar base that could be used to simulate isolated conditions during a manned mission to Mars.

“From the crater rim, rovers could be sent out to explore nearby craters which are permanently in shadow and may contain water ice. If the layers of ice come from the volatiles deposited by comets and water-rich asteroids, we could better understand how, and how much, water and organic material was delivered to Earth over its history,” said Foing.


Notes:

These images were analysed in the framework of a study project for the design and operations of lunar polar robotic landers and rovers, by Marina Ellouzi, a Master’s student in space engineering at the Paris-Meudon Observatory. The polar mosaics were presented and discussed at the 9th ILEWG International lunar conference in October 2007.


For more information:

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

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

Source: ESA - Smart-1

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New NASA Mission to Reveal Moon's Internal Structure and Evolution


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:

Dec. 11, 2007
Grey Hautaluoma
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0668
grey.hautaluoma-1@nasa.gov


RELEASE: 07-274

New NASA Mission to Reveal Moon's Internal Structure and Evolution


WASHINGTON - At a Monday meeting of the American Geophysical Union, NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Alan Stern announced the selection of a new mission that will peer deep inside the moon to reveal its anatomy and history.

The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission is a part of NASA's Discovery Program. It will cost $375 million and is scheduled to launch in 2011. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

"GRAIL's revolutionary capabilities stood out in this Discovery mission competition owing to its unsurpassed combination of high scientific value and low technical and programmatic risk," Stern said. "GRAIL also offers to bring innovative Earth studies techniques to the moon as a precursor to their possible later use at Mars and other planets."

Scientists will use the gravity field information from the two satellites to X-ray the moon from crust to core to reveal the moon's subsurface structures and, indirectly, its thermal history.

The study technique GRAIL will use was pioneered by the joint U.S.-German Earth observing Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission launched in 2002. The GRACE satellites measure gravity changes related to the movement of mass within the Earth, such as the melting of ice at the poles and changes in ocean circulation. As with GRACE, both GRAIL spacecraft will be launched on a single launch vehicle.

GRAIL's principal investigator is Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zuber's team of expert scientists and engineers includes former NASA astronaut Sally Ride, who will lead the mission's public outreach efforts. A camera aboard each spacecraft will allow students and the public to interact with observations from the satellites. Each GRAIL spacecraft will carry the cameras to documents their views from lunar orbits.

GRAIL will support NASA's exploration goals as the agency returns humans to the moon by 2020. In 2008, the agency will launch the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, to circle the moon for at least a year and take measurements to identify future robotic and human landing sites. The orbiter also will look for potential lunar resources and document aspects of the lunar radiation environment. After a 30-year hiatus, LRO represents NASA's first step toward returning humans to the moon. The orbiter will be accompanied by another spacecraft, called the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission, which will impact the lunar south pole to search for evidence of polar water frost.

"As NASA moves forward with exploration endeavors, our lunar science missions will be the light buoy leading the path for future human activities," said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Division, Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Created in 1992, NASA's Discovery Program sponsors a series of scientist-led, cost-capped solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. The GRAIL proposal was selected from 24 submissions in response to a 2006 Announcement of Opportunity for the program. Proposals were evaluated for scientific merit, science implementation merit, and technical, management and cost feasibility.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will manage the GRAIL mission. The spacecraft will be built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

For more information about NASA's Discovery Program, visit:
_http://discovery.nasa.gov/

- end -

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


Source: NASA Press Release 07-274

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

KAGUYA (SELENE)

Observations using the Spectral Profiler (SP)

December 14, 2007 (JST)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) verified the Spectral Profiler (SP) onboard the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) orbiting approximately 100 km above the lunar surface, through initial observations on November 3, 2007, and subsequent data analysis. The obtained data is the world's first continuous reflectance spectra of the far side of the Moon in the visible and near infrared region.

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

Spectral Profiler (SP)

The Spectral Profiler (SP) is a spectrometer that can obtain continuous reflectance spectra of the lunar surface from the nadir direction of the main orbiter "KAGUYA" in a broad spectral coverage (500-2600 nm) at a high spectral resolution (6-8 nm) and high spatial resolution (500 m) [Figure 1]. It will conduct, for the first time in the world, continuous global spectral observations of the Moon in the visible to near infrared region. The initial functional check of the SP on November 3, 2007, successfully produced a series of spectra along a strip longer than 1,000 km on the far side of the Moon [Figures 2-4].

Continuous visible and near infrared reflectance spectra are to be used to precisely determine the type and breakdown of minerals on the lunar surface. Ground-based spectroscopic observations of the lunar surface are limited in area coverage to the near side of the Moon and are also in spectral and spatial resolutions due in part to the effects of the Earth's atmosphere. Observations with historical orbiters have so far been limited in spectral coverage, restricting detailed information on the lunar surface mineral composition. With unprecedented accuracy, the Spectral Profiler performs global spectroscopic mapping of the Moon with its broad spectral coverage, and high spectral and spatial resolution, which is necessary for the determination of the type and breakdown of lunar surface minerals.

In addition, one can obtain comprehensive information on the lunar surface material by combining data from the Spectral Profiler with that taken with the Multi-band Imager (MI), which measures detailed spatial distribution of minerals, as well as that from the X-ray Spectrometer (XRS) and Gamma-ray Spectrometer (GRS), which measure spatial distribution of elements. This has led to a breakthrough in research on the formation and evolution of the Moon.

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Fig. 1 SP Observation Specification

*To determine the precise SP observation area, SP observation operations always follow the observation operation of MI or TC

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Fig. 2 First light observation location of SP

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Fig. 3 First Light Data of SP

The two figures above are visualized images produced from SP data normalized at 600 nm with a simple correction to the variation of the overall reflectance of the lunar surface and SP detectors response.

The horizontal X axis of the right figure shows wavelength (600nm-1680nm) and vertical Y axis shows longitude (S19-53 degree - 1000km).

The red part shows relative strong reflectance, while yellow, green and blue show weaker reflectance than the red area, respectively. The color change from green to yellow at around 950nm is expected to correspond with iron-bearing mineral distribution.

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Left: SP data near the crater shown in Fig. 2 Right: Same crater image simultaneously observed by MI

Fig. 4 SP and MI data near a crater shown in Fig. 2

The pink part on the right figure of the MI data shows the line profiling with SP observation area. SP data is expected to show that fresh rock and soil exist in a small crater or on the slope of a large crater since the color of the profile is longer than 600nm and has changed from yellow-green to blue or black (reflectance of the location is weak in longer wavelengths). However, the other area is experiencing space weathering since the color changed from yellow-green to yellow or red (reflectance of the location is strong).

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

Mission website:

SELenological and ENgineering Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE)

Source: JAXA press release

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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