Inflatable Houses on the MoonIf we are to build a space station on the lunar surface, how would it be designed? How would we ship it, or the materials to build it? There has been talk for years about building living quarters on the moon with rock mined from the moon itself, but that would take heavy equipment and lots of time. The first buildings on the moon might just be inflatable buildings. They would be lightweight and easier to ship than prefab buildings. The company Pneumocell, which makes inflatables, conducted a study on the feasibility and benefits of inflatable moon buildings. They propose a series of donut-shaped inflatable structures, partially buried in the lunar soil. The buildings would be covered with a substantial layer of lunar regolith (the dust and gravel that cover the lunar surface) to help shield the structures from radiation and extreme temperatures. Parts of these structures would be greenhouses that gather sunlight directed onto them by an array of mirrors to provide heat, energy, and for growing food. Read more about this possible design for lunar living at Universe Today. -via Damn Interesting(Image credit: ESA/Herzig et al.) #moon #lunarmission #spacestation #inflatable
Water on the Moon May have Come from EarthThere is some icy frost on the moon, and scientists believe there might be substantial liquid water under the lunar surface. Where did it come from? It could have come from the impact of comets and asteroids, but there's another possibility, one that would hold a lot more water, so to speak. It could have been spewed onto the moon from earth. Sure, earth is 240,000 miles away from the moon, give or take, but some very large forces are at work. The earth has a magnetic field around it, which is affected by solar winds, resulting in a teardrop-shaped magnetosphere. The "tail" of this magnetosphere is long enough so that the moon will pass through it. Hydrogen and oxygen ions from the earth are contained in the magnetosphere, and when the moon gets smacked by its tail, the ions become part of the moon. Over 3.5 billion years, that could mean a good amount of water. This is all spelled out in greater details at ScienceAlert. -via Damn Interesting​(Image credit: NASA)#moon #water #magnetosphere
The First-Ever Moon Dust Collected by the Apollo Mission to be AuctionedOn May 25, 1961, President Kennedy delivered a speech to Congress about landing men on the Moon. It was a speech that made thousands of people, scientists, technicians, workers, engineers, and administrators, work together. Over eight years later, on July 20, 1969, what was once a dream became a reality when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon's surface. A few hours after the landing, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin came out of the spacecraft and stepped onto the dusty lunar surface.The Apollo 11 mission, however, not only aimed to bring men to the Moon but also to collect lunar dust for study. The collection of lunar material was assigned to Armstrong, who put about a kilogram of lunar dust on a Teflon bag.Unfortunately, NASA lost this Teflon bag some years later, and it would land in the personal collection of a former curator of the Cosmosphere museum in Kansas. While NASA did prove that the Teflon bag was from the Apollo 11 mission, the agency was ordered to return five of the six scanning electron microscope (SEM) sample stubs that contained the Apollo lunar dust from the bag. This decision made said lunar dust the only verified samples to be legally sold.(Images: Bonham)#NASA #NeilArmstrong #BuzzAldrin #Space #Moon #MoonDust #Apollo11
Former Astronaut Chris Hadfield Test Drives the Astrolab Rover in Death ValleySpace colonization has always been humanity's dream. We see this theme in novels, cartoons, films, and TV shows. But before we can achieve that dream, we need to have an efficient transport network. This said network will enable us to live sustainably off Earth. Astrolab, a new company formed by leading planetary rover and robotics experts, aims to build just that, and the company's first step is the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover. This rover can "pick up and deposit modular payloads. This means it is suitable for many tasks essential to sustainable living on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.The Astrolab team recently had a five-day field test of a full-scale prototype of the rover, and one of the guys who participated in the test was none other than the retired astronaut Chris Hadfield. You might know Hadfield from CSA's YouTube videos on life on the International Space Station. Hadfield says that he enjoyed driving the rover. He also got "an intuitive sense of what this rover can do."This might be the next chapter of planetary exploration and a step closer to space colonization.(Image Credit: Astrolab/ YouTube)#SpaceExploration #Space #Mars #Moon
China's First Moon RockChina’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft brought back the country’s first lunar rocks in December 2020. The samples are the first brought back to Earth since NASA’s Apollo and the Soviet Union’s Luna missions more than 40 years ago. With that long period of time, the arrival of these rare specimens motivated many lunar experts in China to conduct research studies on and about the samples. For reference, the Chang’e-5 recovered basalt. Basalt is a loose volcanic material from the vast lava plain in Moon’s northern region. Some of the collected specimens were given by the China National Space Administration to 31 scientific projects that applied for them. This could be the cause of approximately half a dozen papers published in the past six months regarding the lunar rock samples. Most of these studies were presented at the Lunar And Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. The material collected by the spacecraft confirmed that the Moon was still active a billion years later than the samples from the Apollo mission suggested. While an established timeline as to the lunar volcanic activity is known, the reason behind the activity remains a mystery. Image credit: NASA#space #lunarresearch #Moon #China #science #Change5
International Space Station Crossing the MoonThierry Legault is an engineer and astrophotographer living near Paris. Big city skies are notoriously bad for stargazing due to the light pollution, so he drove 155 miles to a remote spot in the countryside of Bourges, France to perform his hobby. And on that night, something extraordinary happened.Despite foggy weather, Legault managed to capture the split second when the International Space Station passed through the moon. The moment was photographed in such great detail that you can make out the spaceship’s solar panels. Legault wrote in a Facebook Post:Many modules and spacecrafts are visible, in particular the SpaceX Crex-3 Dragon.I had to ride 250 km from home and find a remote place in the countryside in the center of the transit path, in the middle of the night between the blankets of fog.As shown by the video, the transit (prepared on www.transit-finder.com) lasted only 1/2 second, at the speed of 27000 km/h.Tycho crater near the ISS is 85 km wide and one of the youngest craters on the Moon ("only" 100 million years old). The large surrounding rays were caused by the impact of an asteroid comparable in size to the body that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.The image is so impressive that even senior NASA photographer Bill Ingalls praised it while retweeting the snapshot. Of course, there are also naysayers who doubted the authenticity of the picture, but Legault chose to see it as a compliment: if it seems too good to be true then he must’ve done a great job at capturing it.Image: Thierry Legault​#ISS #InternationalSpaceStation #Moon #LunarTransit #ThierryLegaultSource: Astrophotography, Legault's official website
Littering on the Moon: Rocket Booster is the Latest Human Junk to Smash into the Lunar SurfaceAn old rocket booster smashed into the Moon. The junk was part of a rocket that launched Chang’e 5-T1, a small Chinese spacecraft that orbited the Moon in 2014.Thanks to lunar gravity, the booster collided with the far side of the Moon. It produced a puff of debris and left a small crater. Other junk is slated to reach the Moon this year. Because of this, people are now concerned that the lunar surface might become a celestial dumping ground. “Public opinion has changed sufficiently in recent years that even a scientific lunar orbiter being deliberately crashed would still raise questions about impacts on the lunar environment, in a way it once wouldn’t have,” said space archaeologist Alice Gorman.Image credit: NASA#spacecraft #Moon #rockets #rocketbooster #Change5T1 #collision #junk
How Far Can You Throw a Ball on Other Planets? If you were to throw a ball in outer space, say, like when you were doing a extravehicular walk outside your spacecraft flying beyond earth's orbit, it would just continue going due to inertia. However, other planets have their own gravity, and their own drag force depending on the atmosphere. Planetary scientist James O'Donoghue made us a visualization of how far a ball thrown at a 45 degree angle would go in the conditions of different planets in our solar system, plus the moon.
Earth and the Sun, as Viewed From the South Pole of the MoonSee the Earth and the Sun move from a unique perspective from outer space!NASA’s Ernie Wright accompanies the viewer in a stunning video that shows the movement of the Earth and the Sun from the perspective of the Moon’s South Pole. While raw footage was not taken from the lunar surface, the animated visualization represents the unusual motions of our planet for a span of three lunar days (which is equivalent to three months).In two minutes, the animation shows that the Earth actually bobs up and down. In addition, from the view of the Moon’s Mons Malapert, the Earth is seen in an upside-down position and can be seen rotating backward. The video also shows how a lunar eclipse happens!#Moon #Earth #Sun #LunarPerspective #Animation #NASA #Space
Winners of the Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2021Nature is full of beauty and perfection. Being with nature is like looking at a masterpiece. It's a good thing that a camera exists so that we can capture nature's artwork.Photographers from all over the world share their views of nature for the Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2021. The photos are breathtaking, inspiring, and even moving. The grand prize winner of the contest catches a western lowland female gorilla 'Malui' walking through a cloud of butterflies. This was captured by Anup Shah in December 2011 at Bai Hokou, Dzanga Sangha Special Dense Forest Reserve, Central African Republic.Check out all the images that won by category over at The Nature Conservancy.Image above: Anup Shah/TNC Photo Contest 2021#nature #photocontest #gorilla
1.4 Billion Pixel Resolution Radar Image of the Moon's Tycho CraterThe image above is only part of a 5x5-meters-resolution image taken by the Green Bank Telescope (GBT)-- the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. This new photograph of the Moon’s Tycho Crater contains approximately 1.4 billion pixels. That’s a lot of pixels!The image is the highest resolution ever taken from the ground thanks to GBT’s radar technology. The scientists and engineers who worked on this project managed to cover an area of 200 km by 175 km, and were able to capture the entire crater. This early image has garnered support and funding for the project from the scientific community. More images will be released in the fall due to the time needed to process the billions of pixels captured by the telescope. Image credit: NRAO/GBO/Raytheon/NSF/AUI#Moon #TychoCrater #GreenBankTelescop #RadarTechnology #Photography
The 'Gold Rush' of Commercial Mining on the Moon has Begun: NASA Paid $0.10 to Lunar Outpost to Collect Moon RockThere’s going to be a mine on the moon in the future!NASA has awarded Lunar Outpost a 10 cent check for a space resource contract. In exchange, the Colorado-based space startup will obtain various lunar resources such as lunar dust or regolith, for the agency. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the space startup will "collect a small amount of moon dust, verify the collection and transfer the ownership of that lunar regolith." The resources are for future space exploration projects. In addition, the collected regolith will play a key role in NASA’s Artemis program. Nelson says that “the ability to extract and use extraterrestrial resources will ensure Artemis operations can be conducted safely and sustainably in support of human exploration."The lunar resource can be used in the future as a type of cement to build facilities. Another lunar resource, water ice, can be used to create rocket fuel.Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls#Space #Moon #LunarMining #Regolith #LunarOutpost #NASA
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021Winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021 competition have just been announced. The annual astronomy photography competition, now in its 13th year, is hosted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and drew more than 4,500 entries, including many featuring images of distant galaxies that require the use of powerful telescopes.The overall winner of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021 was Shuchang Dong who took this deceptively simple photo of a solar eclipse titled "The Golden Ring" shown above. Dong took the photo in the Ali region of Tibet on June 21, 2020."This place has year-round sunny weather, but in front of the annular eclipse, I saw dark clouds all over the sky," Dong said, "We were waiting with anxious minds but we were lucky. Within a minute of the annular eclipse, the sunshine penetrated through the clouds and afterwards the Sun was sucked into the thick clouds.""This image demonstrates both the beauty and simplicity of an eclipse, but also the science behind this astronomical event," noted competition judge Emily Drabek-Maunder, "Our sun can still be seen as a ring circling the Moon as it passes in front of the Sun, and mountains on the lunar surface can be seen hiding some of this light on the lower righthand portion of the image. This is a stunning achievement!"View more of the fantastic photos of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition below.#astronomy #photography #AstronomyPhotographeroftheYear #ShuchangDong #sun #solareclipse
Apollo 15 Photos Remastered by Andy Saunders Show Glorious Pictures of Moon ExplorationLast week marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission. On July 29, 1971, astronaut David R. Scott, James B. Irwin and Alfred M. Worden entered lunar orbit. The next day, Scott and Irwin landed on the Moon and used the Lunar Excursion Module (lovingly called the Lunar Rover) to explore the area.Over at USA Today, 'Apollo Remastered' author Andy Saunders showcased enhanced images from the mission. Saunders had spent 10 years remastering NASA photographs and has gone through 35,000 images. Many of the old photos weren't shown to the public because of their poor quality. "But with digital enhancement, suddenly now we can see things that we couldn’t see before, and they’re amazing images," he said.In this Instagram image above, Saunders stitched together four Hasselblad 70mm film frames to create a magnificent panorama of the Apollo Lunar Module next to the tracks left by the rover.#NASA #Apollo15 #moon #MoonRover #LunarRover #moonlanding #spaceexploration #AndySaunders #astronaut
What Buzz Aldrin Saw on the MoonVisual effects artist Michael Ranger took the iconic photo taken of astronaut Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission and 'unwrapped' it to reveal what Aldrin would have seen through his space suit's helmet visor.​Ranger (u/rg1213) took the famous photo of Aldrin below and zoomed in on his visor (which is basically like a curved mirror).