Latest Lunar Prospector Stories

2008-03-28 07:50:00

Bright gray, crater-pocked mountains taller than Mount McKinley. Abyssal craters that could swallow several Grand Canyons whole. Recent radar maps of the Moon's southern pole revealed a dramatic, jagged landscape that astronauts could someday call home. But unfortunately, these radar images didn't provide any new information about something that would make living at the lunar pole much easier: frozen water. New evidence on whether water ice exists at the Moon's poles will have to wait for a...

2008-03-11 13:25:00

Newly-released images of the lunar south-polar region obtained by ESA's SMART-1 are proving to be wonderful tools to zero-in on suitable study sites for potential future lunar exploration missions. SMART-1's Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) has collected many images of the lunar south-polar region, with unprecedented spatial resolution. The images, obtained over a full year of changing seasons were used to study the different levels of solar illumination on the Moon's surface. The...

2007-08-20 06:25:00

In October 1963, two cartographers with the Air Force Aeronautical Chart and Information Center saw a strange glow on the moon. Using the 24-inch refractor telescope at Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, James Greenacre and Edward Barr saw a deep, ruby-red glow coming from the crater Aristarchus. The sighting might have been glowing gas from volcanic activity, and a second sighting in November of that year was verified by Dr. John Hall, Director of the observatory at the time....

2007-04-16 16:46:57

For four days every month the Moon passes through the magnetic field of the Earth and parts of the lunar surface are charged with static electricity. Next week Dr Mike Hapgood of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory will present a model at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in Preston, which suggests that this charging may increase after the year 2012 and become an important issue for future lunar explorers. Once in every orbit around the Earth the Moon moves through the...

2006-11-09 09:05:00

Near the end of the mission of Apollo 16, on April 24, 1972, just before returning back home to Earth, the three astronauts released one last scientific experiment: a small "subsatellite" called PFS-2 to orbit the Moon about every 2 hours. The intention? Joining an earlier subsatellite PFS-1, released by Apollo 15 astronauts eight months earlier, PFS-2 was to measure charged particles and magnetic fields all around the Moon as the Moon orbited Earth. The low orbits of both subsatellites were...

2006-07-28 13:15:00

In 1959, a spaceship fell out of the lunar sky and hit the ground near the Sea of Serenity. The ship itself was shattered, but its mission was a success. Luna 2 from the Soviet Union had became the first manmade object to "land" on the Moon. This may seem hard to believe, but Luna 2 started a trend: Crash landing on the Moon, on purpose. Dozens of spaceships have done it. NASA's first kamikazes were the Rangers, built and launched in the early 1960s. Five times, these car-sized spaceships...

2006-04-10 17:14:34

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA plans to send a two-ton probe crashing into a crater on the moon in hopes of discovering if it harbors water that could be used for manned missions, the U.S. space agency said on Monday. The $73 million probe, to be built by Northrop Grumman Corp., is set to be launched in 2008 aboard a rocket also carrying a sophisticated lunar mapper. "We're going to learn a lot from this," said program manager Dan Andrews of NASA's Ames...

2006-02-09 12:35:00

COLUMBUS , Ohio -- Ohio State University planetary scientists have found the remains of ancient lunar impacts that may have helped create the surface feature commonly called the "man in the moon." Their study suggests that a large object hit the far side of the moon and sent a shock wave through the moon's core and all the way to the Earth-facing side. The crust recoiled -- and the moon bears the scars from that encounter even today. The finding holds implications for lunar prospecting,...

2005-11-29 13:00:00

If a planet or moon has only a slight rotational tilt, a tall mountain or crater rim can be forever bathed in sunlight. In 1994, NASA's Clementine mission found candidates for such "peaks of eternal light" on the moon's north and south poles. Today, the European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft is orbiting the moon, hoping to confirm those peaks of light and find others as well. In this essay, SMART-1 principal scientist Bernard Foing explains why such sites would be ideal places for future...

2005-09-09 13:05:00

NASA -- On the Moon, many of the things that can kill you are invisible: breathtaking vacuum, extreme temperatures and space radiation top the list. Vacuum and temperature NASA can handle; spacesuits and habitats provide plenty of air and insulation. Radiation, though, is trickier. The surface of the Moon is baldly exposed to cosmic rays and solar flares, and some of that radiation is very hard to stop with shielding. Furthermore, when cosmic rays hit the ground, they produce a dangerous...

Word of the Day
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.