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

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Sky and Telescope - Divining Lunar Water: "November 19, 2003 | For centuries astronomers have known that the airless, Sun-baked Moon is dry. But the discovery of craters with permanently shadowed floors near the lunar poles raised an exciting possibility: Perhaps these dark hideaways contain water ice that could be mined by future astronauts?
In the 1990s the Clementine and Lunar Prospector spacecraft implied that such ice existed. The results were met with much fanfare in the media — it appeared that there was indeed ice on the Moon. But now scientists probing deep into the polar surface with radar have concluded that lunar ice, if present, will be more difficult "

Thursday, November 20, 2003

NASA - Space Science - Project Prometheus: "Project Prometheus
(formerly the Nuclear Systems Initiative)
In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the wisest of the Titans, and he gave the gift of fire to humanity. The name Prometheus means 'forethought.'

For NASA, the name "Prometheus"is indicative of our hope to establish a new tool for understanding nature and for expanding our exploration capabilities. The gift of fire to humans was a powerful gift. We believe that the knowledge that will be enabled by the technologies developed by Project Prometheus will also be a powerful gift. NASA intends that Project Prometheus will be a true gift that will enable the peaceful exploration of the Solar System and our ability to answer important questions about the origin of life in the universe. The Nuclear Systems Initiative was a useful title for the proposed program in that it was clear, concise and easily identifiable. As we move forward with the program, we believe that a name that also contains meanings related to our goals should be used, therefore, we have changed the name to "Project Prometheus."
Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter: "The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter is an ambitious proposed mission to orbit three planet-sized moons of Jupiter -- Callisto, Ganymede and Europa -- which may harbor vast oceans beneath their icy surfaces. The mission would launch in 2012 or later"
USGS Geomatics: Lunar Topography: "Lunar Topography
Topics on this page: Lunar north pole topography
from Clementine imagesLunar south pole topography
from Clementine imagesLunar Gores
for GlobesLunar Maps
LPI PublicationsASPRS PublicationsLinks"

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

See Learning In A Whole New Light: Text Version: "Join the Earth Crew
There's a lot more going on at NASA than just exploring space! Find out about some exciting careers at NASA. Join the Earth Crew to become part of the NASA team yourself!
Astronaut School
How about a ride on the Vomit Comet or spending the day underwater as a human submarine? Pack your lunch and bring your backpack to Astronaut School!
Meet the Astronauts
Did you ever want to be an astronaut? Have you ever met an astronaut? Here's your chance! Meet the men and women of NASA who explore space by going there!
Living in Space
So you want a condo in Space? What about the bread crumbs that could float up your nose? What ever will you wear? Check out life where everything floats.
Bringing Space Home
Why do we send people to space? We are all natural 'explorers'. Stop in and see how our human adventure in space makes our life here on earth better in surprising ways.
Explorer's Galaxy
Meet NASA Team members and Astronauts who grew up near you. Add to the Explorer's Galaxy by nominating an educator. This is a galaxy that is expanding with new 'stars' every day! "
Science & Technology: SMART-1 is spiralling out through the Earth's radiation belts

SMART-1 is spiralling out through the Earth's radiation belts
19 Nov 2003 12:55

Summary of overall status, current activities and planned activities.
The spacecraft is now in its 102nd orbit and has been functioning very well since the last anomaly occurred on November 5. SMART-1 has now operated flawlessly for more than 12 days.

The spacecraft was operated in electric propulsion mode almost continuously, only interrupting it during the eclipses where the power available from the batteries cannot sustain the high demand of the engine. As a precaution we were also keeping the engine off until the orbit altitude was more than 10 000 km. The total cumulated thrust time is now more than 663 hours and we have consumed about 10.5 kg of Xenon fuel. Moreover, the electric propulsion engine performance, periodically monitored by means of the telemetry data transmitted by the spacecraft and by radio-tracking by the ground stations, has shown in the last period a stable slight over performance in thrust of about 1.5%. We are presently increasing the semi-major axis at a rate of about 150 km per day. Due to the electric propulsion system's excellent performance and the decreased radiation environment, we are now planning to extend the thrust to altitudes below 10 000 km.

The electric power produced by the solar arrays continues to be affected, as expected, by the radiation environment. We continue to register on average a loss of less than 2 Watts per day. This degradation should last until the trajectory crosses the radiation belts, i.e. for another month. At this rate the solar arrays will have lost about 130 W at the exit of the radiation belts. Due to the built in power margins, this will allow the spacecraft to continue thrusting at full power, hence shortening the time envisaged to reach the Moon. Of course, this is provided that we won’t get another exceptional solar storm again soon.


Saturday, November 15, 2003

ESA - European Space Agency - Multimedia Gallery: "Every week we update our Multimedia Gallery with videos from our collection:"

Should find some SMART-1 Videos. - LRK-
Yahoo! Groups : LUT_Group: "The purpose of this group is to discuss the Launch Umbilical Towers used for American manned space flight. It is primarily targeted at the Apollo LUT, but includes discussion of the Shuttle tower, as well as other launch structures.

Due to problems with spamming, new members are moderated, and test messages are not allowed. "

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

No Ice at the Lunar Poles | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "No Ice at the Lunar Poles

Using the 70-centimeter (cm)-wavelength radar system at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, the research group sent signals deeper into the lunar polar surface -- more than five meters (about 5.5 yards) -- than ever before at this spatial resolution. 'If there is ice at the poles, the only way left to test it is to go there directly and melt a small volume around the dust and look for water with a mass spectrometer,' says Bruce Campbell of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian Institution.
Campbell is the lead author of an article, 'Long-Wavelength Radar Probing of the Lunar Poles,' in the Nov. 13, 2003, issue of the journal Nature . His collaborators on the latest radar probe of the moon were Donald Campbell, professor of astronomy at Cornell University; J.F. Chandler of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; and Alice Hine, Mike Nolan and Phil Perillat of the Arecibo Observatory, which is managed by the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center at Cornell for the NSF. "
International Lunar Conference 2003: "The Space Frontier Foundation Supports the 2003 International Lunar Conference
Get ready for another historic and exciting lunar event this coming November. I am not talking about the lunar eclipse which will be observable this November 8. I am referring to the International Lunar conference 2003 which is being held in Hawaii the week of November 16-22.
The International Lunar Conference 2003 is a decisive week-long gathering of American and international space program representatives, scientists and engineers, astronomers, business people and entrepreneurs, educators and enthusiasts all seeking to develop global and inter-global understandings, strategies, initiatives and enterprises leading to a permanent human presence on our Moon within the decade."
News Newsletter November 2003: "An interview with Jim Benson is scheduled to appear in the November 3, 2003 issue of 'Space News.'

International Lunar Conference 2003 - November 16-22:
Jim Benson will be presenting the results of SpaceDev's Lunar Dish Observatory mission design, including an animation, at the International Lunar Conference 2003 in Hawaii, November 20, 2003. He is also scheduled to give a presentation on 'Property Rights in Space.' For information about attending this important conference, please see:

Air Force Research Lab:
SpaceDev continues test firings the week of November 3, 2003 of its Air Force 'space tug' hybrid rocket motor at SpaceDev's Poway, CA facility. To attend a firing, please call: Susan - 858-375-2075"
Yahoo! News - Findings Dampen Hope of Water on Dark Side of Moon: "Findings Dampen Hope of Water on Dark Side of Moon
Wed Nov 12, 1:44 PM ETAdd Science - Reuters to My Yahoo!

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists dampened hopes of finding large amounts of water on the dark side of the Moon on Wednesday with new evidence showing that if any deposits existed, they are in short supply.

Data from the Clementine and Lunar Prospector space missions in the 1990s had suggested there could be significant supplies of water, vital to support life and human colonies on the Moon, stashed in the craters near the poles.
But after conducting a radar survey of craters constantly in shadow at the lunar poles, Bruce Campbell of the Smithsonian Institution (news - web sites) in Washington DC and his colleagues said they did not uncover any evidence of thick ice deposits.
'Any lunar ice present within the regions visible to the Arecibo radar must therefore be in the form of distributed grain or thin layers,' Campbell said in a report in the science journal Nature.
The wavelengths from the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that can penetrate deep into the craters did not produce strong echoes which would have indicated large chunks of ice.
Weaker echoes suggest any water that is there would probably be embedded in rock.
If there is water, it would probably have been deposited when comets, which are comprised largely of ice, collided with the moon over billions of years.
Scientist believe most of the water would have evaporated into space but some may have collected in the shado"
Lunar poles are as dry as dust: study: "Lunar poles are as dry as dust: study

PARIS (AFP) Nov 12, 2003
Any lingering hopes that the Moon may contain hidden deposits of ice at its poles have been dashed by a study using ground-penetrating radar, which shows that even at its extremities, Earth's satellite seems waterless.
Smithsonian Institution researcher Bruce Campbell and colleagues scanned the lunar poles using a radar with a wavelength of 70 centimetres (30 inches), which is capable of penetrating several metres (yards) of dust and which would strongly reflect any thick ice.
But the radar images yielded no evidence of any significant deposits of frozen water.
'Any ice in these regions must be in the form of disseminated grains or thin (centimetres [inches] or less) interbedded layers,' Campbell's team reports in Thursday's issue of Nature, the British science weekly.
The findings confirm scans of the Moon's surface by unmanned missions, notably the 1998-9 US spacecraft Lunar Prospector.
The absence of detectable water could be because impacts with the lunar surface by icy comets have been few, the scientists say.
Alternatively, any water that rises to the lunar surface is rapidly lost into space."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

APOD: 2003 November 9 - Apollo 17 Lunarscape: A Magnificent Desolation

Explanation: Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot and the second human to walk on the Moon, described the lunar landscape as "a magnificent desolation". Dramatic pictures from the Apollo missions to the lunar surface testify to this apt turn of phrase. Near the Apollo 17 landing site, Family Mountain (center background) and the edge of South Massif (left) frame the lunarscape in this photo of astronaut Harrison Schmitt working alongside the lunar roving vehicle. Schmitt and fellow astronaut Eugene Cernan were the last to walk on this magnificent desolation.

Friday, November 07, 2003

IDL JPL Ephemeris and Solar System Timing: "IDL JPL Ephemeris and Solar System Timing

JPLEPHEM - Read and Interpolate JPL Planetary Ephemeris
This package provides routines to open, read, and interpolate the JPL Planetary Ephemeris in FITS format. The JPL ephemerides provide the positions and motions of the major planetary bodies in the solar system, including the earth, moon and sun, to very high precision. The JPL ephemerides are provided as blocks of Chebyshev coefficients, which, when interpolated, reproduce the original JPL numerical integrations within 1.5 cm."


Home Page of Craig Markwardt

Monday, November 03, 2003

Science & Technology: Instruments: "Instruments
The Venus Express payload comprises a combination of spectrometers, spectro-imagers and imagers covering a wavelength range from ultraviolet to thermal infrared, a plasma analyser and a magnetometer. This set of instruments will be able to study the atmosphere, plasma environment and surface of Venus in great detail.
The investigation aims to enhance our knowledge of the composition, circulation and evolution of the atmosphere of Venus. The surface properties of Venus and the interaction between the atmosphere and the surface will be examined and evidence of volcanic activity will be sought.
Most of the instruments are re-using designs and/or spare hardware originating from either Mars Express or Rosetta. Fitted onto a spacecraft whose design is derived from Mars Express and adapted to cope with the thermal and radiation environment in Venus orbit, they will gather data for a planned 500 Earth days (about two Venusian years).
The instruments are provided by collaborative efforts between scientific institutes in ESA member states and Russia. Principal investigators in different European countries lead the nationally funded collaborations."

Moon and Mars - Videos