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.
Hovering landers or drones look as though they’re suspended in the air, because you can’t see the vortices caused by the propellers or the heat emitted by the thruster, or whatever mechanism enables the hovering. Well, here you can. And it proves that the act of hovering is anything but delicate.
Last week, a fly-by of the moon showed impressions remaining on the surface from the Apollo 11 landing. That was 40 years ago, and those impressions linger on undisturbed. It's that longevity that one company wants to exploit, carving messages into the surface in the moon for the purpose of selling ad space.
The Japan Space Agency's Kaguya lunar explorer, after a mission that included new geological surveys and lots of gloriously detailed HD footage of the moon's surface, crash landed into a large crater on the moon's near side this week. And JAXA today released its final images, depicting the final moments of its descent. Updated with video.
By Gregory MonePosted 10.24.2007 at 11:26 am 1 Comment
As the space shuttle Discovery was on its way to the International Space Station, China successfully launched its first lunar probe.
The Chang'e-1 spacecraft, named after a mythical Chinese goddess, should begin orbiting the Moon on November 1. It will spend a year studying the lunar surface. China says that this latest mission is part of a program that will place an unmanned vehicle on the Moon by 2012. You can watch a video of the launch here.—Gregory Mone