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  1. NASA Might Put a Huge Telescope on the Far Side of the Moon Observing the secrets of the universe’s “Dark Ages” will require capturing ultra-long radio wavelengths—and we can’t do that on Earth. The universe is constantly beaming its history to us. For instance: Information about what happened long, long ago, contained in the long-length radio waves that are ubiquitous throughout the universe, likely hold the details about how the first stars and black holes were formed. There’s a problem, though. Because
  2. If all goes as planned China's ambitious Chang'e 5 lunar sample return mission kicks off tonight with a launch from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. The launch window opens at 20:00 UTC and follows the country's successful Chang'e 4 mission, which saw a soft landing on the far side of the Moon and the Yutu-2 trundlebot make its way across the lunar surface. While Yutu-2 may still be on the Moon, the plan for Chang'e 5 is to land and collect approximately 2kg of samples which will be returned to Earth via an ascent module. It
  3. With all the large asteroids hitting the news lately, it would have been easy for a small one to sneak under the radar. In fact, one very nearly did. On April 27, astronomers discovered a new asteroid, a little pixie of a space rock between 4 and 8 metres (13 to 26 feet) across. It was already close to Earth at this point, and the probability of a collision was calculated at around 10 percent. At its size, it would have burnt up on atmospheric entry, so it posed no threat to humans anyway. But the asteroid's trajectory would bring it very close to the geostationary ring
  4. NASA’s Cassini satellite appears to have captured an incredibly rare photo that shows the birth of a new moon emerging from the rings of Saturn. The facts are a little hazy at the moment because we only have a handful of photos to work from, but there is some evidence to suggest that Cassini has actually spotted two new moons over the last couple of years, and that one of those moons has since been destroyed. Never in the history of humanity have we spotted the creation (or destruction) of a moon — and, more importantly (at least as far as science is concerned), this could tell us a lot about
  5. India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Scouts the Moon in New Lunar Photos A view of the north polar region of the moon as seen by Chandrayaan-2 on Aug. 23, 2019. (Image credit: ISRO) India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is settling into orbit around the moon and has an incredible view as it waits to try to make history. The spacecraft arrived in lunar orbit on Aug. 19 (Aug. 20 local time at the Indian Space Research Organisation's mi
  6. "It requires everything that America has to offer to reach the end state." Enlarge / The Trump administration's lunar plan finally has a price. Sort of. NASA NASA revealed Monday that it needs an additional $1.6 billion in funding for fiscal year 2020 to stay on track for a human return to the Moon by 2024. The space agency's budget amendment comes in addition to the $21 billion the Trump administration asked Congress for in March. In a teleconference with reporters on Monday evening, NASA admini
  7. Buzz Aldrin is looking forward, not back—and he has a plan to bring NASA along "There has to be a better way of doing things. And I think I’ve found it.” Enlarge / Buzz Aldrin wants NASA to go somewhere. Hubert Vestil/Getty Images Just after Memorial Day this year, I began talking regularly with the pilot of the first spacecraft to land on the Moon. We had spoken before, but this was different—it seemed urgent. Every week or two, Buzz Aldrin would call to discuss his frustration with the state of NASA and his concerns about
  8. Hordes of Earth's toughest creatures may now be living on Moon Credit: CC0 Public Domain There might be life on the Moon after all: thousands of virtually indestructible creatures that can withstand extreme radiation, sizzling heat, the coldest temperatures of the universe, and decades without food.
  9. Study shows that the Moon is older than previously believed This sample is an ilmenite basalt collected during Apollo 12. It has glass on it, deposited by the splash of material when another basalt was struck by an impactor. Samples like 12054 allow us to reconstruct the history of the Moon with the stories they tell. Credit: Maxwell Thiemens, 2019 A new study spearheaded by Earth scientists at the University of Cologne's Institute of Geology and Mineralogy has constrained the age of the Moon to approximately 50 million y
  10. Americans aren’t interested in the Moon and Mars—and that’s understandable After 15 years and $50 billion, we haven't really gotten that far. Enlarge / Mars or the Moon? It’s a debate that has bedeviled NASA for decades. Aurich Lawson / Getty Images Nearly two years ago, Vice President Mike Pence made the administration's space policy official, saying NASA would re-focus its program around "establishing a renewed American presence on the Moon, a vital strategic goal." In December 2017, President Trump signed a space-policy d
  11. Half a century after Apollo, why haven’t we been back to the Moon? After we beat the Soviets in 1969, there wasn't much left to prove. Enlarge / Since Apollo, NASA's human spaceflight plans for deep space have been all hat and no cattle. Unlike this photo of two cattle in Johnson Space Center's Rocket Park. NASA The 50th anniversary of NASA’s historic landing on the Moon—this Saturday, July 20th—provokes a decidedly bittersweet feeling. Certainly, this marks an appropriate time to pause and celebrate a singular moment in our
  12. India has launched an ambitious mission to the Moon "Today is a historical day for space and science and technology in India." Enlarge / India's GSLV Mark III rocket is seen on the launch pad with its lunar payload. ISRO On Monday, an Indian rocket launched a spacecraft bound for the Moon from Sriharikota, a barrier island off the Bay of Bengal coast. This Chandrayaan-2 mission is the second spacecraft India has sent to the Moon, and it represents a significant effort to explore the lunar surface and its potential as a source for water ice.
  13. How Russia (yes, Russia) plans to land cosmonauts on the Moon by 2030 "Very difficult times are ahead for our space program." Last Thursday, the leader of Russia's state space corporation, Dmitry Rogozin, gave a wide-ranging talk at Moscow University. The speech sought to describe activities happening now at Roscosmos and what may happen in the future, including a potential lunar landing. Rogozin addressed his comments largely to students at the university, and he sought to paint a picture of a vibrant national space enterprise. This is presumabl
  14. "This time when we go to the Moon, we're actually going to stay." Maxar has been selected to build and fly the first element of NASA’s lunar Gateway. Maxar Technologies NASA has chosen its first commercial partner for a proposed space station, known as the Lunar Gateway, to be built near the Moon. On Thursday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Maxar Technologies would build the first component of the Gateway—the power and propulsion element. Like the name suggests, it will provide electricity to the Gateway and help move it a
  15. NASA picks three companies to attempt Moon landings in 2020 and 2021 At least two of the three missions will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket. NASA has begun to make good on its promise to use commercial companies to help with its lunar exploration efforts. On Friday, the space agency announced that it has contracted with three companies—Orbit Beyond, Astrobotic, and Intuitive Machines—to deliver scientific payloads to the Moon in the years 2020 and 2021. The announcement is significant for several reasons, not least because no private company has eve
  16. No private company has ever achieved what SpaceIL is trying to do. Enlarge / Beresheet captured this image of the Moon from an altitude of 500km. SpaceIL It has been 48 days since the Beresheet spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket and began a spiraling series of orbits to raise itself toward the Moon. Last week, the 180kg vehicle fired its engines to enter into lunar orbit, and now the time has come for it to attempt a soft landing on the Moon. No private company has ever achieved what SpaceIL, a private
  17. "We're going to complete the mission." On Saturday, just two days after the Beresheet spacecraft crashed into the Moon, the president of SpaceIL said the organization would move forward. Beginning this week, Morris Kahn said, a new task force would learn from the organization's failures and begin developing a new plan for a Beresheet 2 spacecraft. "We're going to build a new spacecraft, we're going to put it on the Moon, and we're going to complete the mission," said Kahn, a billionaire who personally donated $40 million to the private Israeli effort. So far, Spac
  18. NASA wants a big budget increase for its Moon plans. Is Congress biting? Space agency needs Christmastime funding for landers to keep Moon plan on track. Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says that competition is good for the Artemis Moon program. NASA 77 with 45 posters participating The odds of NASA sending humans back to the Moon by 2024 are long—not zero, but pretty close.Probably the biggest near-term impediment the space agency faces is funding. Specifically, NASA requires an additional $3.2 bill
  19. Seven countries join NASA to explore the Moon peacefully, transparently “The law right now prohibits us from engaging China on bilateral activities.” Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks during a State of NASA address on Feb. 10, 2020. NASA 56 with 39 posters participating NASA appears to be making good progress in building international support for a plan to return humans to the Moon in the 2020s. On Tuesday, during the virtual meeting of the International Astronautical Fou
  20. Radiation levels on the surface of the moon are 2.6 times greater than those measured on the International Space Station, according to a new study. Scientists in Germany developed a device to measure radiation on the lunar surface, which was carried to the far side of the moon by China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe. Photo by CNSA/CLEP NASA intends to put the first woman on the moon by 2024 -- and the first man since 1972. Earlier this week, the space agency released new details about its Artemis program, including its decision to target a landing spot on the lunar South
  21. "Starting a war between Alabama and SpaceX will be the end of the Moon program." Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visits Kennedy Space Center in 2018. NASA Speaking in front of a high-fidelity model of the Apollo program's Lunar Module spacecraft, Vice President Mike Pence charged NASA with accelerating its Moon plans last week. Instead of 2028, Pence wanted boots on the ground four years earlier, before the end of 2024. This marked the rarest of all moments in spaceflight—a schedule moving left instead of to the right.
  22. The next "blood moon" is set to take place July 27, if you happen to be on the right part of the globe to catch it. The century is relatively young yet, but the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st centenary is set to go down on July 27. In fact, it's probably the longest such event between now and 2123, according to NASA's catalog of such things. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon are in a line, casting the reddish-orange shadow of our planet onto the surface of the moon. This is why a total lunar eclipse is often referred to as a "blood moon
  23. NASA creates Artemis Accords in effort to extend its values to the Moon "We don’t want to only carry astronauts to the Moon, we want to carry our values." Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is leading implementation of the Artemis Accords. NASA 149 with 59 posters participating, including story author NASA said Friday it has begun negotiating a series of bilateral agreements with space agencies in other countries that want to join the Artemis Program. Essentially, partner nations would need to agree to
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