Latest SELENE Stories

2007-11-01 16:05:00

BEIJING -- Over a few short months, Japan, China, and India will all have lunar probes orbiting the moon, sparking talk of a new space race in Asia. China, for one, takes exception at that characterization. On Thursday, a top official in its secretive military-backed lunar explorer program defended the probe launched last week as an innovation that is part of a future wave of cooperation, not competition, in outer space. "It's all peaceful," said Pei Zhaoyu, assistant director of the Lunar...

2007-10-05 06:15:50

TOKYO -- Japan put its first satellite into orbit around the moon Friday, placing the country a step ahead of China and India in an increasingly heated space race in Asia. The probe was set into lunar orbit after completing a complicated navigational maneuver late Thursday, space agency officials said. The probe will gradually move into orbit closer to the surface to the moon before conducting a yearlong observational mission. "We believe this is a big step," said project manager Yoshisada...

2007-09-14 06:51:34

JAXA's first large lunar explorer, Kaguya (formerly Selene), launched on September 14, is adding a new mission to the story of lunar exploration. Originally planned to launch on 13 September, its launch is rescheduled for 14 September 2007, 3:31:01 am CEST, due to weather conditions. Kaguya will be launched on board a Japanese H-II A rocket, from the Tanegashima space centre in Japan. The objectives of the mission are to understand the Moon's origin and evolution, and to survey it for future...

2007-04-19 16:11:37

Of the two luminaries that dominate our sky, it is the moon that is of particular interest to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project. The LRO will travel to the moon in late fall 2008, mapping the surface to help pave the way for humans to return. It will help prepare us for extended surface exploration on the moon and for subsequent missions to Mars and other distant destinations. Lunar surface exploration will help us to practice living, working, and gathering science data before...

2006-12-04 13:50:00

It's 2015. You're NASA's chief engineer designing a moonbase for Shackleton Crater at the Moon's south pole. You're also designing a com-system that will allow astronauts constant radio contact with Earth. But you know that direct transmissions won't work--not always. As seen from Shackleton Crater, Earth is below the horizon for two to three weeks each month (depending on the base's location). This blocks all radio signals, which travel line of sight. The solution seems obvious. Simply place...

2006-09-03 08:10:00

Early this morning, a small flash illuminated the surface of the Moon as the European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft impacted onto the lunar soil, in the "ËœLake of Excellence' region. The planned impact concluded a successful mission that, in addition to testing innovative space technology, had been conducting a thorough scientific exploration of the Moon for about a year and a half. SMART-1 scientists, engineers and space operations experts witnessed the final moments of the...

2006-09-03 06:40:00

BERLIN -- Europe's first moon probe signed off its mission on schedule by crashing into the lunar surface on Sunday, completing a project scientists hope will tell them more about the moon's origin. A small flash illuminated the lunar surface as the European Space Agency's (ESA) unmanned SMART-1 spacecraft crashed into the near side of the moon in the 'Lake of Excellence' region at about 7,200 km per hour (4,500 miles per hour). The spacecraft, a cube measuring around a meter on each side,...

2006-08-23 10:20:00

BEIJING -- China and Russia plan to launch a joint mission to Mars in 2009 to scoop up rocks from the red planet and one of its moons, a Chinese scientist said on Wednesday. Russia will launch the spacecraft, while China will provide the survey equipment to carry out the unmanned exploration, Ye Peijian, a senior scientist at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, told a meeting in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The mission will be another step in China's ambitious...

2006-07-12 09:16:41

During its 15-month science mission at the Moon, ESA's SMART-1 returned up to 1000 images per week, whose analysis is still keeping the scientists busy. They show the Moon's surface in unprecedented detail (with the kind of information that until now, scientists could only dream about) and it is going to get better. When you are studying the Moon there is no such thing as 'point-and-shoot'. The scientists and mission planners on ESA's SMART-1 lunar explorer had to make sure that when it aimed...

2006-06-26 14:35:00

After sixteen months orbiting the Moon, ESA's lunar mission is preparing for the end of its scientific exploration. On 19 June, SMART-1 mission controllers initiated a 17-day series of manoeuvres aimed at positioning the spacecraft to enhance science data return as the mission winds down. SMART-1, Europe's successful first Moon mission, is scheduled to end on 3 September 2006, impacting on the Moon's surface in a disposal plan similar to that of many earlier lunar missions and almost three...

Word of the Day
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'