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Moon

NASA's GRAIL lunar impact site named for astronaut Sally Ride

The final flight path for NASA's twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on Dec. 17. GRAIL's MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space. (Credit: NASA)

Dec. 17, 2012 — NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday in honor of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America's first woman in space and a member of the probes' mission team.

Last Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near...

NASA GRAIL lunar twins begin their last burn

Dec. 17, 2012 — Ebb and Flow -- the two twin spacecraft of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission -- have begun their final rocket burns. They are scheduled to impact the moon at around 2:28 p.m. PST (5:28 EST).

NASA is providing live commentary of the pre-planned lunar surface impacts by GRAIL beginning at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST) Monday, Dec. 17. The event will be broadcast on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website. For NASA TV streaming...

Rocket burn sets stage for dynamic moon duos' lunar impact

An artist's depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL's prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft will orbit the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

Dec. 16, 2012 — The lunar twins of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission have each completed a rocket burn that has sealed their fate. The burns modified the orbit of the...

NASA probes prepare for mission-ending moon impact

Last Flight for GRAIL's Twin Spacecraf: This still image shows the final flight path for NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission spacecraft, which will impact the moon on Dec. 17, 2012, around 2:28 p.m. PST. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/ASU)

Dec. 13, 2012 — Twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecraft that have allowed scientists to learn more about the internal structure and composition of the moon are being prepared for their controlled...

Apollo's lunar dust data being restored

An Apollo 14 astronaut deploys the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package's power source (foreground) and "Central Station" (background), where the Lunar Dust Detector was mounted. (Credit: NASA/JSC)

Dec. 6, 2012 — Forty years after the last Apollo spacecraft launched, the science from those missions continues to shape our view of the moon. In one of the latest developments, readings from the Apollo 14 and 15 dust detectors have been restored by scientists with the...

Huge Procellarum basin on the nearside of the moon may be relic scar from ancient impact

BestAstronomy (Oct. 28, 2012) — The huge Procellarum basin on the nearside of the Moon may be a relic scar from an ancient impact event that shaped the lunar surface, reports a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. Such an impact may explain why the nearside and farside of the Moon are composed of different kinds of rock.

Ryosuke Nakamura and colleagues used data from the Japanese lunar orbiter KAGUYA/SELENE to study the composition of the Moon's surface. They...

Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012: U.S. astronaut was first man to walk on the moon

BestAstronomy (Aug. 25, 2012) — Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, has died, following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. He was 82. Share This: See Also: Space & TimeMoonNASASpace MissionsScience & SocietySpace PolicyWorld DevelopmentPolitical ScienceReference Buzz AldrinApollo 11Neil ArmstrongSpace exploration

Armstrong's words "That is one small step for (a)...

NASA's twin GRAIL spacecraft begin collecting lunar data

BestAstronomy (Mar. 7, 2012) — NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft orbiting the moon officially have begun their science collection phase. During the next 84 days, scientists will obtain a high-resolution map of the lunar gravitational field to learn about the moon's internal structure and composition in unprecedented detail. The data also will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and...

NASA spacecraft reveals recent geological activity on the moon

BestAstronomy (Feb. 20, 2012) — New images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft show the moon's crust is being stretched, forming minute valleys in a few small areas on the lunar surface. Scientists propose this geologic activity occurred less than 50 million years ago, which is considered recent compared to the moon's age of more than 4.5 billion years.

A team of researchers analyzing high-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter...

X-rays illuminate the interior of the Moon

BestAstronomy (Feb. 19, 2012) — Unlike Earth, our Moon has no active volcanoes, and the traces of its past volcanic activity date from billions of years ago. This is surprising because recent Moonquake data suggest that there is plenty of liquid magma deep within the Moon and part of the rocks residing there are thought to be molten. Scientists have now identified a likely reason for this peaceful surface life: the hot, molten rock in the Moon's deep interior could be so dense that it is...

Twin ARTEMIS probes to study moon in 3-D

BestAstronomy (July 13, 2011) — On Sunday, July 17, the moon will acquire its second new companion in less than a month. That's when the second of two probes built by the University of California, Berkeley, and part of NASA's five-satellite THEMIS mission will drop into a permanent lunar orbit after a meandering, two-year journey from its original orbit around Earth.

The first of the two probes settled into a stable orbit around the moon's equator...

BestAstronomy (July 13, 2011) — On...

First ARTEMIS spacecraft successfully enters lunar orbit

BestAstronomy (June 28, 2011) — The first of two ARTEMIS ("Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun") spacecraft is now in its lunar orbit.

On June 22, ARTEMIS P1 began firing its thrusters to move out of its kidney-shaped "libration" orbit on one side of the moon, where it has been since January. Three successive maneuvers were used to kick the spacecraft out of its orbit and send it on a...

BestAstronomy (June 28, 2011) — The...

Cassini captures Saturn's icy moon Helene

— NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its second-closest encounter with Saturn's icy moon Helene, beaming down raw images of the small moon. At closest approach, on June 18, Cassini flew within 4,330 miles (6,968 kilometers) of Helene's surface. It was the second closest approach to Helene of the entire mission.

Cassini passed from Helene's night side to the moon's sunlit side. It also captured images...

— NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its...

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter delivers treasure trove of data

— NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team released March 15, 2011 the final set of data from the mission's exploration phase along with the first measurements from its new life as a science satellite.

With this fifth release of data, striking new images and maps have been added to the already comprehensive collection of raw lunar data and high-level products, including mosaic images, that LRO has made possible....

— NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team released March...

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: The far side of the moon -- and all the way around

— Because the moon is tidally locked (meaning the same side always faces Earth), it was not until 1959 that the farside was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft (hence the Russian names for prominent farside features, such as Mare Moscoviense). And what a surprise --­ unlike the widespread maria on the nearside, basaltic volcanism was restricted to a relatively few, smaller regions on the farside, and the b...

— Because the moon is tidally locked (meaning the same side always...

NASA makes use of historic test site for new robotic lander prototype tests

— Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., have begun the first phase of integrated system tests on a new robotic lander prototype at Redstone Test Center's propulsion test facility on the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, also in Huntsville. These tests will aid in the design and development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of performing science and ...

— Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala....

Waiter, there's metal in my moon water

— Bring a filter if you plan on drinking water from the moon. Water ice recently discovered in dust at the bottom of a crater near the moon's south pole is accompanied by metallic elements like mercury, magnesium, calcium, and even a bit of silver. Now you can add sodium to the mix, according to Dr. Rosemary Killen of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Recent discoveries of significant deposits of...

— Bring a filter if you plan on drinking water from the moon. Water...

Race against time to find Apollo 14's lost voyagers: 'Moon trees'

— In communities all across the US, travelers that went to the moon and back with the Apollo 14 mission are living out their quiet lives. The voyagers in question are not astronauts. They're "moon trees."

The seeds that later became moon trees orbited the moon 34 times in the Apollo 14 command module. In this classic Apollo 14 image, taken just before the lunar module landed at Fra Mauro, Earth peeks over the edge of...

— In communities all across the US, travelers that went to the moon...

NASA's new robotic lander prototype skates through integration and testing

— NASA engineers successfully integrated and completed system testing on a new robotic lander recently at Teledyne Brown Engineering's facility in Huntsville in support of the Robotic Lunar Lander Project at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The lander prototype was placed on modified skateboards and a customized track system as a low-cost solution to control movement during final testing of the...

— NASA engineers successfully integrated and completed system...

Water on moon originated from comets

— Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, continue to chip away at the mysterious existence of water on the moon -- this time by discovering the origin of lunar water.

Larry Taylor, a distinguished professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was the one last year to discover trace amounts of water on the moon. This discovery debunked beliefs held since the return of the first Apollo...

— Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, continue to...

NASA tests new propulsion system for robotic lander prototype

— NASA's Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has completed a series of hot fire tests and taken delivery of a new propulsion system for integration into a more sophisticated free-flying autonomous robotic lander prototype. The project is partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., to develop a new generation of small, ...

— NASA's Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project at Marshall Space...