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.
Photo credit: Christie’s
The football-sized lunar meteorite (NWA 12691) weighs in at over 30-pounds is the fifth largest that you can buy. It came from part of a large meteorite shower which fell near the Western Saharan, Algerian and Mauritanian borders, and is expected to net $2.5 million USD, which gives it a valuation of around $80,000 per pound. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA has plans to make oxygen on the Moon using gold. That’s right, they are converting carbon dioxide into oxygen using equipment attached to one of its rovers that will be launched to the Moon, or in other words, a golden box called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE). The golden box itself will be made of gold to assure that the impact with any nearby electronics boxes inside the space rover will be minimal. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, which is touted as “a successful failure” that saw the safe return of its crew in spite of a catastrophic explosion. The crew of this mission consisted of Commander James (Jim) Lovell Jr., Command Module Pilot John Swigert Jr. and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise Jr. Their Saturn V rocket launched at 2:13pm EST on April 11,1970, from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Read more for a video and additional information.