NASA successfully hot fired all four engines on the massive Space Launch System core stage for the Artemis I rocket that will travel to the moon at the end 2021, but they were cut after a minute into the planned eight-minute test. The original goal was to simulate the thrust the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage, which generates 1.6 million pounds burning through more than 700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Read more for a video and additional information.
Ever wonder what would happen if you nuked the Moon? So did science expert Kurzgesagt, and that’s why his latest video is all about this topic. He covers a scenario where a thermonuclear device is detonated on the surface of the moon, and what the potential hazards could be for astronaut observers, orbiting satellites, space stations, as well as people living here on Earth. Project A119, a top-secret plan developed in 1958 by the United States Air Force, aimed to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon. Read more for the video and additional information.
Photo credit: Peta Pixel
China’s Chang’e 5 lunar probe achieved a major milestone when it successfully completed a soft lunar landing on Tuesday. Its moon lander and ascender vehicle landed near the peak of Mons Rümker, a mountain in the Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) region of the moon. This area was chosen because its geological age dates back to around 3.7 billion years, which could help scientists gain a more comprehensive understanding of the formation and evolution of the celestial body. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA announced today that their Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This means that water may actually be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. That’s right, water molecules (H2O) were found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: Xinhua/CNSA
China’s Yutu-2 lunar rover went northwest, traveling toward an area with basalt and an impact crater area with high reflectivity on the 23rd lunar day – single lunar day is equal to 14 Earth days. Its near-infrared spectrometer on the rover was used to detect a rock about 30 cm in diameter. To date, the rover has survived 660 Earth days on the far side of the moon, and the rover has traveled 1,856-feet. Read more for a video and additional information.
It’s official, NASA has selected Nokia Bell Labs to advance “Tipping Point” technologies for the Moon by deploying the first LTE/4G communications system in space in a bid to help pave the way towards sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. This ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end LTE solution should be completed by late 2022. The company is partnering with Intuitive Machines for this mission to integrate this groundbreaking network into their lunar lander, which self-configures upon deployment. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: Dynetics
The Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS) consists of a single element providing the ascent and descent capabilities, while multiple modular propellant vehicles are pre-positioned to fuel the engines at different points in the mission. The crew cabin was designed to sit low to the surface, thus enabling a short climb for astronauts entering, exiting, or transporting tools and samples. It supports both docking with Orion and with Gateway, and will get a fuel top-off before descending to the surface. Read more two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: AliveUniverse
Two talented designers, Aristotelis and Sorensen, from Denmark have unveiled LUNARK, an origami-inspired moon habitat that could one day be used by astronauts from NASA’s Artemis missions. This compact portable structure that can quickly and easily be expanded or folded, and the exterior boasts a strong aluminum frame covered with solar cells, while the interior features a toilet as well as living quarters, complete with study space for two. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: Cosmic Background
Photographer Andrew McCarthy knows that capturing a perfect image of the moon in one shot is nearly impossible, even with a high-end DSLR, so he decided to stitch together dozens of shots to create the composite that you see here. To be more specific, it’s made from two weeks of moon waxing and he took the lunar terminator of the picture that has the most contrast (where shadows are the longest), aligned and blended them to show the rich texture across the entire surface. Read more for additional pictures and information.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced yesterday three private companies that will develop, build and fly lunar landers, with the goal of returning astronauts to the moon in 2024 and eventually, Mars. They are: SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, led by Elon Musk; Blue Origin in Kent, Washington, founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and Dynetics, a Huntsville, Alabama subsidiary of Leidos. The contracts for the initial 10-month period total $967 million. Read more for two videos and additional information.