17Mar2012

Go On a Grand Tour of the Moon

 “Tour of the Moon” takes viewers to several interesting locations on the moon. Tour stops included in this breathtaking journey across the moon’s surface are: Orientale Basin, Shackleton crater, South Pole-Aitken Basin, Tycho crater, Aristarchus Plateau, Mare Serenitatis, Compton-Belkovich volcano, Jackson crater and Tsiolkovsky crater.

To honor the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s amazing 1,000 days in science-filled orbit, the LRO team at Goddard Space Flight Center has created a wonderful video tour of the lunar surface like you’ve never seen it before! Take a “peak” into Tycho Crater!

“Tour of the Moon” takes viewers to several breathtaking locations on the Moon, including Orientale Basin, Shackleton crater, Tycho crater, Aristarchus Plateau, Mare Serenitatis, Compton-Belkovich volcano, Tsiolkovsky crater and more. The fully narrated video is above, and clips from each of the stops on the tour are available in many other formats here.

In addition, another video highlighting the dramatic evolution of the Moon was released today… you can view the full narrated version in 2D and stereoscopic 3D here.

Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

 

China To Launch Moon-Landing Orbiter in 2013

The Moon is slowly giving up it's secrets

China’s third lunar probe, Chang’e-3, is expected to be launched next year and conduct a moon landing and lunar explorations, its designer said.

Different from the previous two orbiters, Chang’e-3 has “legs” to support the spacecraft in landing, said Ye Peijian, chief commander of Chang’e-3 at China Academy of Space Technology.

The orbiter will carry a lunar rover and other instruments for territory surveys, living conditions assessment, and space observations, Ye, a member of China’s top political advisory body.

The 100-kg lunar rover, China’s first such device, is designed to operate on the moon for over three consecutive months, Ye said on the sidelines of the advisory body’s current annual session.

Chang’e-3 is scheduled for launch in 2013 and will land on the lunar surface and deploy a rover for lunar surface exploration.

It must be capable of avoiding large craters and climbing through smaller ones, Ye said. An advanced recognition and navigation system will be installed, and a telecommunications system will allow scientists to control the rover from Earth.

Moreover, the rover will have to endure energy the frigid and prolonged lunar night, which is as long as seven solar days and can see temperatures drop below minus 170 degrees Celsius.

To solve the problem, Ye said they have designed solar wings that can stretch out to collect sunlight in the daytime and shield the equipment at night.

“We have made breakthroughs in all these fields,” Ye said, predicting the launch to be scheduled in 2013.

The launch of Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4 is part of the second step of China’s three-phrase lunar probe projects of orbiting, landing and returning.

China launched the Chang’e-1 in 2007 and the Chang’e-2 2010. The first probe retrieved a great deal of scientific data and a complete map of the moon while the second one created a full higher-resolution map of the moon and a high-definition image of Sinus Iridium. Source: Moon Daily

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