NASA Releases a New 3D Animation of the Lunar Gateway

A detailed 3D animation of NASA's Gateway space station, showcasing its modules and structural components from various angles against the backdrop of deep space. NASA/Bradley Reynolds, Alberto Bertolin

To get to the Moon, NASA is building a Lunar Gateway in orbit to facilitate easier access to the Moon. With construction beginning in 2028 as part of Artemis IV there will be an ongoing programme of enhancements and additions. NASA has now released a fabulous new 3D animation of the Lunar Gateway to showcase what the final Gateway will look like. It includes modules from partner nations and an Orion lunar landers dock to carry astronauts. 

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A New Way to Make Precise Maps of the Lunar Surface

Lunar surface

There was a time when maps of the Moon were created from telescopic observations and drawings. Indeed Sir Patrick Moore created maps of the Moon that were used during the historic Apollo landings. Now researchers have enhanced a technique to create accurate maps from existing satellite images. Their approach uses a technique called ‘shape-from-shading’ and involves analyzing shadows to estimate the features and shape of the terrain. Future lunar missions will be able to use the maps to identify hazards on the surface making them far safer. 

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China Releases New Pictures From the Surface of the Moon

Image of the Chang'e-4 lander, taken by the Yutu 2 rover. Credit: CNSA/GRAS/Doug Ellison

Ever since it made its historic landing on Jan. 3rd, 2019, the Chang’e-4 mission and its Yutu 2 rover have been busy exploring the lunar surface. Just recently, the mission passed its first year of operations and earned the distinction of being the first rover to travel a record 357.695 meters (1,173.5 ft) on the far side of the Moon. And in between all that, the mission has also provided some truly fascinating images of the lunar surface.

Thanks to a data release issued on Monday (Jan. 20th), the public can now peruse through all of the high-resolution images taken by the Chang’e-4 mission. The data, which was released by the Ground Research and Application System (GRAS) of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Project, includes images of the far side of the Moon that were taken with the lander’s terrain camera and the panoramic camera on the Yutu-2 rover.

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