NASA Research Could Reshape Understanding of Moon Formation

“I think the thing that impressed me the most was the lunar sunrises and sunsets,” said Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders as he described his impressions of the Moon from about 60 miles. “These in particular bring out the stark nature of the terrain, and the long shadows really bring out the relief.” This oblique photograph looks northwest into the Sea of Tranquility, the site where Apollo 11 would land seven months later. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTONJan. 31, 2019 (NASA PR) — New NASA research combining experimental studies with analyses of samples collected nearly 50 years ago during Apollo provides compelling evidence that the Moon formed from the same materials as Earth in the aftermath of a giant impact between the young Earth and a Mars-sized impactor.

In the generally accepted model for the formation of the Moon, the proto-Earth is hit by a Mars-sized impacting body. In the aftermath of the impact, material from the impacting body ejected into a disk in Earth orbit and is thought to have formed the Moon.

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SpaceIL, IAI to Send Time Capsule to Moon on Nation’s First Lunar Mission

SpaceIL lander (Credit: SpaceIL)

The time capsule will include Israeli national, cultural and traditional symbols, such as Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Hebrew songs, the Wayfarer’s Prayer, and paintings by Israeli children.

TEL AVIV (IAI PR) — Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) presented today at IAI’s Space Division a time capsule that will travel to the moon – and remain there indefinitely – with the first Israeli spacecraft, which will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in February, 2019.

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OHB, IAI Team in Offering Commercial Lunar Surface Missions to ESA

  • Collaboration to be managed by OHB System AG, a leading German satellite manufacturer
  • IAI to deliver a lunar lander based on the engineering knowhow accumulated in the development of SpaceIL lunar lander

TEL AVIV (IAI PR) — OHB System AG, a leading German manufacturer of satellites and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), signed a teaming agreement today (Tuesday, 29.1.2019) at the Ilan Ramon Space Conference. Under the agreement, the companies will offer a commercial Lunar Surface Access Service (LSAS) for payloads up to 150 kg to the European Space Agency (ESA).

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SpaceIL Lunar Lander Being Prepped for Falcon 9 Launch Next Month

The Falcon 9 launch is currently scheduled for Feb. 18 from Cape Canaveral. The lunar lander will be a secondary payload to the PSN 6 communications satellite.

Watch the Apollo 11 Documentary Trailer

Video Caption: From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names.

Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.

Coming Soon To Theaters.

U.S. Mint Unveils Coins Commemorating Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary

Credit: U.S. Mint

WASHINGTON (U.S. Mint PR) – The United States Mint (Mint) opened sales for the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program on January 24 at noon EST.

This unique four-coin program includes the Mint’s first reeded five-ounce proof silver dollar, a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar, and a half dollar. All coins are curved. This year, the Mint increased the silver content of its commemorative standard silver dollars to 99.9 percent silver. In the past, these coins were 90/10 silver—90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.

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Preparing for a Walk on the Moon

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and ESA spacewalk instructor Hervé Stevenin collecting rock samples with new tool prototypes. (Credit: ESA–A. Romeo)

LANZAROTE, Spain (ESA PR) — Developing the most efficient and safest way to return to the Moon starts on Earth. European astronauts and spacewalk experts are getting ready for the future of Moon exploration with electronic aids, upgraded geological tools from the Apollo era and improved scientific protocols.

In November, ESA conducted a moonwalk simulation in Lanzarote, Spain as part of Pangaea-X, a test campaign that brought together space exploration, high-tech survey equipment and geology.

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Winning Ideas for 3D Printing on the Moon

A vision of a future Moon base that could be produced and maintained using 3D printing. (Credit: RegoLight, visualisation: Liquifer Systems Group, 2018)

PARIS (ESA PR) — While studying lunar base concepts ESA ran a competition, asking: what would you 3D print on the Moon, to make it feel like home? Responses came from all across the globe, and now two winners have been selected, both with ideas linked to nature.
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ArianeGroup & PTScientists to Study a Moon Mission for ESA

  • ArianeGroup has signed a contract with ESA to examine the possibility of going to the Moon before 2025 and starting to work there
  • Ariane 64, the 4-booster version of Ariane 6, would enable this European mission to carry the equipment needed for a Moon landing
  • To mark the 50th anniversary of Man’s first steps on the Moon, ArianeGroup will be one of the partners in the “La lune, du voyage réel aux voyages imaginaires” (The Moon, a journey from the real to the imaginary) exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris

TOULOUSE, France (ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has just signed a one-year contract with ArianeGroup to study and prepare for a mission to go to the Moon with the aim of mining regolith. Regolith is an ore from which it is possible to extract water and oxygen, thus enabling an independent human presence on the Moon to be envisaged, capable of producing the fuel needed for more distant exploratory missions.

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NASA’s Campaign to Return to the Moon with Global Partners

Contrasted against the stark, crater-marked lunar surface, the Earth is seen rising above the moon on Dec. 24, 1968. As Apollo 8 orbited the moon, Earth is 240,000 miles away. The sunset terminator is seen crossing Africa. (Credits: NASA/Bill Anders)

The Moon is a fundamental part of Earth’s past and future – an off-world location that may hold valuable resources to support space activity and scientific treasures that may tell us more about our own planet. Americans first walked on its surface almost 50 years ago, but the next wave of lunar exploration will be fundamentally different.

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PolyU Provides Multi-Disciplinary Support to the Nation’s Historic Landing on the Far Side of the Moon

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

HONG KONG (PolyU PR) — The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) proudly supported the nation’s current lunar exploration, Chang’e-4 lunar probe, which successfully performed the historic landing on the far side of the Moon on 3 January 2019. Adopted by Chang’e-4 mission was PolyU’s advanced technologies, namely the design and development of an advanced Camera Pointing System, and an innovative lunar topographic mapping and geomorphological analysis technique in landing site characterisation for the space craft.

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China, U.S. Exchanged Data on Chang’e-4 Moon Landing

A view of the moon from the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

The Associated Press reports that China and the United States exchanged data about the landing of the former’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft on the moon earlier this month despite severe limits placed on space cooperation between the two nations by the U.S. Congress.

The space agency’s deputy director, Wu Yanhua, said NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang’e 4 spacecraft, which made China the first country to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

China in turn shared the time and coordinates of Chang’e 4’s scheduled landing, Wu told reporters during a briefing on the lunar mission. He added that while NASA’s satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, it took photographs of the area afterward.

The state-run China Daily said that was the first such form of cooperation since the 2011 U.S. law was enacted.

China Lunar Plans Focused on South Pole

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

China’s aggressive long-range program explore the moon includes a heavy focus on the south pole where probes have detected water.

China’s Chang’e-4 mission is currently exploring the moon with a rover and lander on the far side. The vehicles are communicating with Earth via an orbiting spacecraft. The Chang’e-4 mission also includes two lunar CubeSats, one of which is still operational.

China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 mission by the end of 2018 to bring back soil samples from the lunar surface. The plan is to bring back at least 2 kg (4.4 lb) of soil from the Mons Rümker region in the northwest section of the moon.

Xinhua reports there are three other moon missions planned in the years ahead:

  • Chang’e-7, set for launch in 2023, will carry out comprehensive surveys of the south pole;
  • Chang’e-6, scheduled to be launched in 2024, will bring back samples from the lunar south pole; and,
  • Chang’e-8, scheduled for launch in 2027, will test technologies to lay the ground work for a research base on the lunar surface.

China expects to conduct crewed missions to a lunar base sometime during the 2030’s.

China Lands Chang’e-4 on Far Side of the Moon

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

China made history on Thursday with the first soft landing on the far side of the moon.

Chang’e-4 successfully touched down in the South Pole–Aitken basin and later deployed the Yutu 2 rover. It was China’s second successful landing on the moon after Chang’e-3 touched down on the near side and deployed a rover in December 2013.

The lander includes the following payloads:

  • landing and terrain cameras;
  • a low-frequency spectrometer;
  • a neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
  • a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
  • a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
A view of the moon from the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

The rover’s payloads include:

  • a panoramic camera;
  • a lunar penetrating radar system;
  • a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
  • and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.

The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.

China’s Chang’e-4 Could Land on Lunar Far Side this Week

Von Karman crater, the planned landing site for Chang’e-4.

China Daily said the Chang’e 4 spacecraft could land on the moon by Thursday.

The Chang’e 4 robotic probe is expected to land on the South Pole–Aitken basin on the silver sphere’s far side sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, according to information from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a major contractor of the country’s lunar exploration programs.

The State-owned conglomerate previously said that the spacecraft would fly 26 days before landing on the lunar surface.

Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Dec 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province to fulfill the world’s first expedition on a lunar region that never faces the Earth.

The lander includes the following payloads:

  • landing and terrain cameras;
  • a low-frequency spectrometer;
  • a lunar lander neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
  • a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
  • a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.

The rover’s payloads include:

  • a panoramic camera;
  • a lunar penetrating radar system;
  • a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
  • and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.

The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.