Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NASA'S Lunar Spacecraft Completes Exploration Mission Phase

Until we send humans or robots to the lunar surface, this will have to do.
Hopefully we will have students that will use the data to devise new missions.
- LRK -

NASA'S Lunar Spacecraft Completes Exploration Mission Phase

Sep. 15, 2010

Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington

Nancy Neal Jones
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

RELEASE: 10-223


WASHINGTON -- NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, will
complete the exploration phase of its mission on Sept. 16, after a
number of successes that transformed our understanding of Earth's
nearest neighbor.

LRO completed a one-year exploration mission in a polar orbit
approximately 31 miles above the moon's surface. It produced a
comprehensive map of the lunar surface in unprecedented detail;
searched for resources and safe landing sites for potential future
missions to the moon; and measured lunar temperatures and radiation

The mission is turning its attention from exploration objectives to
scientific research, as program management moves from NASA's
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate to the Science Mission
Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington.

"LRO has been an outstanding success. The spacecraft has performed
brilliantly," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator of the
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. "LRO's science and
engineering teams achieved all of the mission's objectives, and the
incredible data LRO gathered will provide discoveries about the moon
for years to come."

The LRO team will continue to send data gathered during the last year
to the Planetary Data System, which archives and distributes
scientific information from NASA planetary missions, astronomical
observations and laboratory measurements.

By the time LRO achieves full mission success in March, and its data
is processed and released to the scientific community, it will have
sent more information to the Planetary Data System than all other
previous planetary missions combined. During its new phase of
discovery, LRO will continue to map the moon for two to four more

"The official start of LRO's science phase should write a new and
intriguing chapter in lunar research," said Ed Weiler, associate
administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. "This mission is
one more asset added to NASA's vast science portfolio."

The spacecraft launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida
carrying a suite of seven instruments on June 18, 2009. LRO formally
began its detailed survey of the moon in September 2009.

Results from the mission include: new observations of the Apollo
landing sites; indications that permanently shadowed and nearby
regions may harbor water and hydrogen; observations that large areas
in the permanently shadowed regions are colder than Pluto; detailed
information about lunar terrain; and the first evidence of a globally
distributed population of thrust faults that indicates the moon has
recently contracted and may still be shrinking.

LRO also took high resolution pictures of the Lunokhod 1 rover that
had been lost for almost 40 years. The rover, which carries a
retroreflector, was located to within approximately 150 feet. The
accurate position data enabled researchers on Earth to bounce laser
signals off the retroreflector for the first time ever. The
retroreflector is providing important new information about the
position and motion of the moon.

LRO also supported the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite
impact, a companion mission sent to determine if the moon's poles
harbor water ice, by helping to select a promising impact site. LRO
observed both the expanding plume that arose after the impact and the
evolving temperature at the site.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., built and
manages LRO for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The
Institute for Space Research in Moscow provides the neutron detector
aboard the spacecraft. For more information about LRO, visit:



It is easy to forget how close the Moon is to Earth.
It is easy to forget how close the Moon is to Earth.
It is easy to forget how close the Moon is to Earth.

Don't you think we should go there and do this and that?
It is easy to forget how close the Moon is to Earth.
- LRK -

As LRO orbits the Moon every two hours sending down a stream of
science data, it is easy to forget how close the Moon is to the Earth.
The average distance between the two heavenly bodies is just 384,399
km (238,854 miles). Check your airline frequent flyer totals, perhaps
you have already flown the distance to the Moon and back on a single
airline! Contrast the current image with the NAC view  taken last
June, which revealed much of central Asia.

The Moon is a spectacular sight in the nighttime sky. Now imagine the
Earth from the Moon, four times larger, a delicate blue, and it does
not rise nor set. To astronauts, the Earth is a constant companion, at
least on the nearside. Of course, on the farside you can never see the


Let us send something intelligent to the Moon.
If not me, then something that can see for me.
Something that will help others see what some politicians fail to see.
- LRK -

As seen at

New supercomputer on a chip ‘sees’ well enough to drive a car someday
September 16, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

Eugenio Culurciello of Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Science
has developed a supercomputer based on the ventral pathway of the
mammalian visual system. Dubbed NeuFlow, the system mimicks the visual
system’s neural network to quickly interpret the world around it.

The system uses complex vision algorithms developed by Yann LeCun at
New York University to run large neural networks for synthetic vision
applications. One idea — the one Culurciello and LeCun are focusing on
— is a system that would allow cars to drive themselves. In order to
be able to recognize the various objects encountered on the road—such
as other cars, people, stoplights, sidewalks, and the road
itself—NeuFlow processes tens of megapixel images in real time.


Maybe someone would like to print me up a 3D igloo made from regolith cement.
- LRK -

Printing Spurs a Manufacturing Revolution
Published: September 13, 2010

But Contour Crafting, based in Los Angeles, has pushed 3-D printing
technology to its limits.
    Html version
      *Requires broadband connection and the Shockwave media player
- which it would seem I don't have installed. LRK
Based on research done by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, an engineering
professor at the University of Southern California, Contour Crafting
has created a giant 3-D printing device for building houses. The
start-up company is seeking money to commercialize a machine capable
of building an entire house in one go using a machine that fits on the
back of a tractor-trailer.

The 3-D printing wave has caught the attention of some of the world’s
biggest technology companies. Hewlett-Packard, the largest
paper-printer maker, has started reselling 3-D printing machines made
by Stratasys. And Google uses the CADspan software from LGM to help
people using its SketchUp design software turn their creations into
3-D printable objects.


Just think how hard it would be to work in the vacuum of the Moon,
and just think how much fun it would be to figure out how to do so. :-)

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Web Site:
Comments accepted here -
RSS link:
Media Briefing on Latest Results from LRO

NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday,
September 16, to discuss compelling new research results from NASA's
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.

Supporting information can be found here.

› Read the related media advisory

Five Things to Know about LRO

   * LRO is leading NASA’s way back to the moon.
   * The primary objective of LRO is to conduct investigations that
prepare for future lunar exploration. Specifically LRO will scout for
safe and compelling landing sites, locate potential resources (with
special attention to the possibility of water ice) and characterize
the effects of prolonged exposure to the lunar radiation environment.
In addition to its exploration mission, LRO will also return rich
scientific data that will help us to better understand the moon’s
topography and composition.
   * Seven scientific instruments outfit LRO. These instruments will
return lunar imagery, topography, temperature measurements and more.
   * Launched along with LRO was the Lunar CRater Observation and
Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), a partner mission that will search for
water ice on the moon.
   * In response to LRO's "Send Your Name to the Moon" initiative,
the spacecraft carries a microchip with nearly 1.6 million names
submitted by the public. Click here to view a photo of the microchip
containing the names as engineers prepare to install it on the




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