Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moon Missions Launched: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Crater Observation

NASA launched a pair of moon missions, the agency's first in more than 10 years, on Thursday. Intended to pave the way for the return of astronauts to the lunar surface, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will map the moon in 3D, focusing on 50 'high priority' locations that are thought to be prime landing sites.

A second mission called the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite will orbit Earth for about 100 days before it guides the spent upper stage of the Atlas V launch vehicle into a collision with a crater on the moon's south pole.

The blast is expected to excavate more than 350 tonnes of material and could reveal whether the polar craters contain water ice, which could be used by future lunar colonists. (Image: United Launch Alliance/Pat Corkery)

No comments:

Post a Comment