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.
Photo credit: ESA
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover now has a miniature counterpart that you can 3D print at home, called ExoMy. All of the blueprints and software for this rover can be downloaded for free so that anyone with access to a 3D printer can assemble and program their own ExoMy. When built, it stands 42cm high and reproduces many key features of its 2m tall ExoMars, including a drill, solar panels across its back wings and a camera mast. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
The astronauts named the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Resilience to highlight the dedication that teams involved with the mission have displayed and to demonstrate that when everyone works together, there is no limit to what they can achieve. NASA astronaut Victor Glover shared his first video from aboard the International Space Station, and it was of Earth captured through a window on the Crew Dragon. Read more for the video and additional informatoin.
China’s Long March-5, the country’s largest carrier rocket, successfully launched at 4:30 a.m. Beijing time from Wenchang Space Launch Center carrying the Chang’e-5 lunar probe, which will collect moon rocks to help scientists understand more about its origins and formation. This will also test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions in the near future. If Chang’e-5 returns successfully, it would make China the third country to have retrieved lunar samples. Read more for two videos and additional information.
A team of astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin have just proposed a liquid-mirror telescope installation on the moon to study some of the earliest stars in the universe. Instead of glass, the telescope’s mirror would be made of liquid, since it’s lighter, and more cost efficient, to transport to the moon. More specifically, it would be a spinning vat of with metallic liquid (ionic liquid salts) on top, thus making it reflective. It would most likely be installed in a crater at the north or south pole. Read more for a video on liquid-mirror telescopes and additional information.
After a 27.5-hour journey, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft has docked with the International Space Station. The four astronauts – Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi – will join Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, thus expanding the Expedition 64 crew to seven. They will remain at the ISS for six-months, while Soyuz MS-17 will return the Roscosmos cosmonauts to Earth in April 2021. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: SpaceX
At approximately 7:27 pm EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the nighttime sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Around twelve minutes later, the Dragon capsule, named Resilience, on the rocket’s nose separated from the rocket to began its 27.5-hour journey to the International Space Station. This marks the first operational trip into orbit for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which just received NASA certification this past week. Read nore for two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: Peta Pixel
Astrophotographer Jean-Luc Dauvergne spent 6-nights at the Pic-du-Midi observatory in the French Pyrenees capturing the best global map of Mars yet from Earth. His team used the observatory’s 1-meter telescope and its native 17000mm focal length. The telescope was originally built to help NASA researchers prepare for the Apollo missions in the early 1960s, and to this day, it’s still one of the best in the world to study planetary surfaces in the visible part of the spectrum. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: Andrew Fabishevskiy
NASA’s original Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is essentially a battery-powered four-wheeled rover used on the Moon in the last three missions of the American Apollo program (15, 16, and 17) during 1971 and 1972. What you may not know is that they were all built by Boeing, with each weighing in at 460-pounds and having a maximum payload mass of 1,080-pounds. They were transported to the lunar surface folded up in the Lunar Module’s Quadrant 1 Bay. Read more to see what the NASA LMV V1 motorbike would look like on the Moon and a bonus video.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully blasted off into space today (November 13) from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:32 p.m. EST (2232 GMT). It’s transporting classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the same branch that manages the U.S. government’s fleet of spy satellites. The payload has been named NROL-101, marking ULA’s fifth launch so far in 2020. Read more for a video of the launch and additional information.