NASA Announces Long Term Plans for the Moon

NASA announced new details about its lunar ambitions today, providing details about other nations will get involved in a return to the Moon, and the concept of a future lunar base. The Global Exploration Strategy involved 1,000 people from 14 space agencies, non-governmental agencies, and commercial companies. The Lunar Architecture Team decided that the best spot for a permanent lunar base would be at one of the Moon’s poles, which is bathed in eternal sunlight.
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No Ice at the Moon’s Southern Pole

A new radar survey of the Moon’s southern pole has cast doubt on the hope that there might be accessible deposits of water ice in permanently dark craters. This new survey, performed with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, found elevated hydrogen levels in regions of bright sunlight – not just inside the shadowed walls of craters. It seems that scattered rocks associated with impact craters have given previous instruments a false reading.
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Gardening for the Moon

When astronauts return to the Moon and visit Mars in the coming decades, they’ll want to bring as little as possible from Earth. That means living off the land wherever possible. Wouldn’t it be great if they could grow their own food? Researchers from Texas A&M University have grown lettuce in special cylinders that provide the plants everything they need to grow – but in a very low pressure environment.
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SMART-1 Ends in a Flash and Puff of Dust

When SMART-1 ended its mission by crashing into the Moon on Semptember 3, telescopes around the world were watching. A newly released series of images comes from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, which shows the crash site before and after impact. The telescope captured images every 15 seconds, and detected the flash of impact, and the following dust cloud that lasted about 75 seconds.
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SMART-1 Smashed into the Moon

ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft ended its productive mission on September 3, 2006 when it crashed into the lunar soil in the “Lake of Excellence” region of the Moon. The impact took place on the near side of the Moon, in full view of Earth and space-based telescopes; even amateurs captured a tiny flash in their telescopes as the spacecraft obliterated, and carved out a small crater. This final act of science will hopefully give researchers some insights into the minerals that lie underneath the lunar surface, which were briefly excavated by the impact.
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Linking the Formation of the Earth and Moon

Did the Earth capture the Moon with its gravity, did they form together in the early Solar System, or did the Moon form when a Mars-sized object smashed into the Earth. New data from ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft has turned up deposits of calcium on the lunar surface. By measuring these minerals, as well as aluminium, magnesium and silicon, scientists can better map out the composition of the Moon, and predict what kind of impact might have happened.
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