In celebration of 1,000 days in orbit, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team released two beautiful videos of our moon, one a fiery drama showing the moon's tough evolution and another touring its most interesting sites.
Strong winds in the upper atmosphere forced NASA to scrub Thursday's planned launch of its newest moon mission. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory is now set to lift off at 8:33 a.m. EDT or 9:12 a.m. PDT Saturday — but the weather is still not cooperating.
NASA is going back to the moon once again, sending a pair of spacecraft on a quest to learn the origins of our closest companion by studying its interior and its gravitational field. But beyond new lunar science, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, GRAIL, will also help cement NASA's legacy of lunar exploration in the public imagination.
A primordial second moon may have smacked into our existing moon billions of years ago, its remains pancaking across its larger sibling and disrupting the bigger moon’s still-cooling surface. This new theory could explain why the moon’s far side looks so different from the one that perennially faces us.
The standard explanation for the formation of our moon holds that during the formation of our solar system, a giant object smashed into the infant Earth, knocking loose a huge chunk of our planet that became our orbiting satellite. But the problem with easy explanations is that the science doesn't always reconcile with the theory.
A week after finishing her dissertation on the formation of the moon, Robin Canup danced the lead in Coppelia with the Boulder Ballet. “At the time, it felt like I had a wonderfully full and busy life,” she says, “but I can’t believe now I did it all.” Canup, 35, stopped dancing professionally five years ago. “By that age you’re an old dancer but a young scientist,” she says. Still, there’s an unexpected harmony to her career: Now she studies how moons glide around planets in space.