Tag Archives | Moon

The Last Soviet Moon Lander Discovered Water on the Moon in 1976

Moon Landing MapCold War politics. Via the Technology Review's Physics arXiv Blog:
The last Soviet mission to the moon, Luna-24, returned to Earth with water-rich rocks from beneath the lunar surface. But the West ignored the result. The possibility of water on the moon has excited scientists and science fiction fans for decades. If we ever decide to maintain a human presence on the moon, clear evidence of water will be an important factor in the decision. In recent years, that evidence has begun to mount. The data comes from several sources. First there was the pioneering Clementine mission in 1994, America's first return to the moon in twenty years. Clementine looked for water by bouncing radio waves off the surface—the returns giving a strong indication that water ice must lie beneath the surface...
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Russia Wants To Build A Permanent Moon Base

RoscosmosReports Aviation Week:

Mankind’s next objective in space exploration should be the establishment of a permanent international base on the Moon, in the “professional opinion” of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, instead of the near-Earth object (NEO) visit that is the stated goal of U.S. space policy.

Vladimir Popovkin, the Roscosmos head, told the Global Exploration Conference in Washington May 22 that the next big international exploration effort should build on the past 40-plus years of lunar exploration, and not repeat the sortie missions of the Apollo era.

“It’s a new Moon,” Popovkin said of his agency’s concept during a panel appearance with other space agency chiefs. A long-term permanent base could take advantage of the water-ice at the lunar poles, continue exploring the lunar surface, and prepare for the next leap into the Solar System, he says.

The concept, which is roughly the same one NASA pursued under President George W.

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Annular Solar Eclipse Brings Ring Of Fire (May 20, 2012)

Photo: sancho panza (CC)

Photo: sancho panza (CC)

This Sunday brings the first annular solar eclipse visible in the western United States in almost 18 years. Mike Wall reports for Space.com:

Skywatchers in East Asia and the western United States should circle Sunday (May 20) on their calendars. That’s when a solar eclipse will block out most of the sun, leaving a spectacular “ring of fire” shining in the sky for observers located along the eclipse’s path.

The event is what’s known as an annular solar eclipse — from the Latin “annulus,” meaning “little ring” — and its full glory should be visible from much of Asia, the Pacific region and some of western North America, weather permitting. At its peak, the eclipse will block about 94 percent of the sun’s light.

Other parts of the United States and Canada will still see a partial solar eclipse, without being treated to the ring of fire effect, though the East Coast will miss the event since the sun will have set before it begins.

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There’s Something Strange On The Moon

Photo: Oliver Stein (CC)

Photo: Oliver Stein (CC)

[disinfo ed.’s note: Jay Weidner, described by Wired as an “authority on the hermetic and alchemical traditions” and “erudite conspiracy hunter,” will be interviewing former NASA consultant Richard Hoagland for Gaiam TV Wednesday, May 16th at 7 p.m. EST. Here he describes his feelings about Hoagland’s work.]

I have to tell you from the beginning that I am somewhat prejudiced about the subject of Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, the bestselling book by Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara. My own investigation of the high strangeness that exists on the lunar surface began in 1992 and dovetails with Hoagland’s search for answers.

In the mid-sixties, before the Apollo missions, NASA compiled a report of astronomers from the past who had witnessed anomalous activity on the surface of the moon through their telescopes. Titled R-277 and found here, each page of this report is filled with weirdness.… Read the rest

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Newt Gingrich Is Right About Having A Permanent Moon Base

Earth To MoonYes, “Gingrich” and “right” in the same sentence is very strange: Saturday Night Live managed to successfully mock this derided idea in a recent well received sketch (which I thought was reminiscent of that show’s style from the ’70s). Here is a differing perspective presented by Robert T. Gonzalez on io9.com:

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has promised us a permanent Moon base by 2020. Many people have been calling Newt’s vow a publicity stunt, while others have chimed in by attacking the idea of a lunar base in and of itself, with assertions like “real scientists know [a Moon base] is fantasy.” We won’t speak to Newt’s political maneuverings, but we’re sure as hell not going to sit idly by while people bash the feasibility or scientific potential of a lunar settlement. In fact, we’ve got 185 reasons we should set a course straight away …

An Off-World Energy Source: We spoke to astrophysicist Michael Shara — curator of the astrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural History — about the scientific potential of a permanent Moon base, and one of the first things to come up was lunar resource utilization.

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Gingrich’s Path To Statehood For A Space Colony

moo_img001Wondering if the Constitution still applies when gravity does not? Newt Gingrich believes so. Buzzfeed dug up Newt’s 1981 bill laying out rules of governance for a future 20,000-person U.S. colony on the moon or Mars. At the moment he’s being bashed from all sides for this, but I think it’s fantastic:

Yesterday Newt Gingrich revealed his “weirdest idea ever” — to provide a path to statehood for a hypothetical lunar colony.

With the help of the skilled research librarians in the Library of Congress Law Library, BuzzFeed tracked down the bill, which Gingrich called the “Northwest Ordinance for Space,” or formally the “National Space and Aeronautics Policy Act of 1981.”

“The Congress declares that the United States is committed to the expansion of free people and free institutions into space,” the bill stated, calling for an array of near earth and solar space travel vehicles to be completed by 2010.

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Earth Always Has Two Moons

Fig_250rA group of Cornell astrophysicists say that at any given time, Earth always has a very small second moon orbiting. That’s the moon I like most. Phenomenica writes:

The Earth has always had a temporary second moon, new study has claimed. When astronomers caught sight of a mysterious titanium white object circling around the Earth in 2006, they assumed it was a spent rocket. But it was actually a small asteroid captured by the Earth’s gravitational field that rotated around the Earth until June 2007.

In the new study, astrophysicists at Cornell claim that this little moon was not an anomaly as these asteroids come and go so often it means our planet always has a temporary second moon.

According to Cornell University’s Mikael Granvik, Jeremie Vaubaillon and Robert Jedicke, they have calculated the population of “irregular natural satellites that are temporarily captured” by Earth.

In their study, researchers say that while these moons are small, the scientific implications of this discovery are phenomenal.

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Earth (Usually) Has Two Moons

Two MoonsSo reports MIT's Technology Review:
Back in 2006, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona noticed that a mysterious body had begun orbiting the Earth. This object had a spectrum that was remarkably similar to the titanium white paint used on Saturn V rocket stages and, indeed, a number of rocket stages are known to orbit the Sun close to Earth. But this was not an object of ours. Instead, 2006 RH120, as it became known, turned out to be a tiny asteroid just a few metres across--a natural satellite like the Moon. It was captured by Earth's gravity in September 2006 and orbited us until June 2007 when it wandered off into the Solar System in search of a more interesting neighbour. 2006 RH120 was the first reliably documented example of a temporary moon ...
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Who Stole The Moon?

Olivine basalt collected by Apollo 15. Photo: Wknight94 (CC)

Olivine basalt collected by Apollo 15. Photo: Wknight94 (CC)

Dan Vergano writes in USA Today:

NASA hauled back loads of rocks and dust from the moon, but apparently hasn’t kept good track of those samples on Earth. The space agency has lost or misplaced more than 500 pieces of the lunar rocks and other space samples, NASA’s inspector general reported Thursday, making the case for better inventory controls.

Astronauts on the Apollo moon landings from 1969 to 1972 returned 842 pounds of lunar rock and soil to Earth. The space agency now loans samples, along with meteorite and comet dust, to about 377 researchers worldwide.

The space agency now lists 517 moon rock samples as missing or stolen. However, the inspector general audit suggests much more is missing, based on inquiries to a sample of 59 scholars loaned moon rocks, comet dust or meteorites. The audit found 19% could not locate all of their samples.

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