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  • US and China collaborate on Moon exploration:

    "With the required approval from Congress, NASA has been in discussions with China to explore the possibility of observing a signature of the landing plume of their lunar lander, Chang'e 4, using our @NASAMoon spacecraft's instrument," NASA's associate administrator for the science mission directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, wrote on Twitter.

    Zurbuchen's tweet confirmed a similar statement made Monday by the deputy chief commander of China Lunar Exploration Program, Wu Yanhua.
    NASA shared information from a US satellite while China told the Americans about the latitude, longitude and time of the landing "in a timely manner," he said.

    The hope was that NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) could observe the historic touchdown of the Chinese lander on January 3.
    NASA provided the planned orbit path of LRO to China, but it turned out the spacecraft was not in the right place at the right time.

    "For a number of reasons, NASA was not able to phase LRO's orbit to be at the optimal location during the landing, however NASA was still interested in possibly detecting the plume well after the landing," the agency said in a statement.

    "Science gathered about how lunar dust is ejected upwards during a spacecraft's landing could inform future missions and how they arrive on the lunar surface."

    Such observations could help astronauts prepare for future missions to the Moon.

    NASA's lunar orbiter will pass over the Chang'e 4 landing site on January 31 and will snap pictures, as it did for the Chang'e 3 in 2013.


    • they will be sending a Nissan up.........
      Start-up company Orbex hopes to begin launches in late 2021 from a spaceport planned for Sutherland in the northern tip of the UK.


      • Originally posted by blackcatnursery View Post
        they will be sending a Nissan up.........
        Not ideal location for launch though. One should always try to launch as close to equator as possible to lower the gravitational resistance, that is at its lowest near the equator. Not to mention that they better also put windshield wipers on the rocket and plan for strong wind.

        But I suppose Saint Helena is too mountaineous and Brighton too crowded.


        • Originally posted by Telmar View Post
          Not ideal location for launch though. One should always try to launch as close to equator as possible to lower the gravitational resistance, that is at its lowest near the equator. Not to mention that they better also put windshield wipers on the rocket and plan for strong wind.

          But I suppose Saint Helena is too mountaineous and Brighton too crowded.
          Gravity isn't really lower at the equator, although centrifugal force does reduce its effect it by ~3 cm/s^2--which is practically nothing.

          The chief advantage you get from launching at the equator is a boost in initial velocity during launch--about 460 m/s in the equatorial plane. For prograde orbits (orbits moving in the same direction as the Earth's rotation), that's 460 m/s of delta-V that your launch vehicle no longer needs to provide.

          However, this actually works against you for polar (orbits that go directly over the poles) or retrograde (orbits that go the opposite direction of the Earth's rotation). In that case, your launch vehicle needs an extra 460 m/s delta-V to cancel out the velocity imparted by the Earth's rotation.

          According to the article, Orbex is specifically targeting this rocket for launch of small satellites into polar orbits. At Forres (where they're planning to launch from, ~57.6deg N latitude), the prograde velocity imparted by the Earth's rotation is only ~246 m/s, which is ~210 m/s less delta-V required for polar/retrograde orbits when compared to launching at the equator. Might not seem like much compared to an orbital velocity of ~7.8 km/s in LEO, but every bit counts--especially for small launches and small payloads that may not have any propulsion onboard for orbital correction.

          The other advantage of launching from the equator is that you can effectively launch directly in to any orbital plane from the equator, though higher inclinations are costlier. By contrast, launching from a high latitude to a lower-inclination orbit is tricky. This is one reason why both ISS and Mir have been operated at 51.6deg inclinations, since Baikonur Cosmodrome is at ~46deg N latitude.


          • looks like an orbiting lunar base - Gateway
            The space agency says it wants astronauts to spend more time on the lunar surface as it looks to send them within the next decade.


            • 'Mars One' declared bankruptcy



              • NASA's Mars Opportunity rover mission has ended.


                • My battery is low,
                  And it's getting dark.


                  • 'My battery is low and it's getting dark': Mars rover Opportunity's last message to scientists

                    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover was built to operate for just 90 days, but kept going for 15 years. NASA officially declared it dead on Wednesday, and its last message to scientists before it went dark eight months ago is getting a lot of attention.

                    The rover spent a decade and a half sending data bursts, not words, but according to science reporter Jacob Margolis, scientists at NASA said the last message they received from Opportunity effectively translated to, "My battery is low and it's getting dark."

                    Flight controllers tried numerous times to make contact, and sent one final series of recovery commands Tuesday night along with one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You," in a somber exercise that brought tears to team members' eyes. There was no response from space, only silence.


                    • 22.02.19 (IST)


                      First private space probe on the moon could bring new era of space exploration'

                      “We’re looking at an entirely new model for space exploration beyond Earth orbit.”

                      Beresheet is the first word of the Hebrew Bible, meaning “in the beginning.” It’s also the apt name of the robotic lander that an Israeli start-up is planning to launch to the moon on Feb. 21.

                      If the mission succeeds, Beresheet will be the first Israeli spacecraft to travel beyond Earth orbit and the first private lander on the moon. The mission could also mark the beginning of a new spaceflight era — one in which companies go where previously only nations have gone.



                      Can Israel’s first lunar mission solve a magnetic mystery?

                      With SpaceIL’s unmanned spacecraft set to lift off next week, the organization’s Science Team has included instruments that will help unlock the secrets of the Moon’s magnetic rocks.

                      After eight years of preparations costing $100 million, the SpaceIL Israeli unmanned spacecraft “Beresheet” (Genesis) is tentatively scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on February 21 and reach the rocky surface of the Moon six to eight weeks later following multiple orbits around Earth.



                      • Well done to all those involved in the hugely successful Opportunity Rover Mars Mission.


                        NASA‘s amazing New Horizons spacecraft has aided researchers study a mysterious phenomenon at the very edge of our Solar System, where particles emitted by the Sun and interstellar space interact. This very section, about one hundred times further from the Sun than Earth, is where charge less atoms of Hydrogen from interstellar space interact with charged particles from our Sun.



                        • Astronomers Just Found 300,000 Hidden Galaxies in Just a Tiny Patch of Sky

                          The Universe just got a little more crowded with the discovery of more than 300,000 potential galaxies in a tiny corner of the northern sky.
                          A release of data gathered by the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope network in Europe has added extraordinary new levels of detail to the map of radio waves across the cosmos, inspiring dozens of studies on everything from magnetic fields to black holes.



                          • For those who are interested, NASA have a stunning and excellent Traverse Map Achieve of Opportunity's 45.16 klm travels on Mars.



                            • YEHUD, WE DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM

                              With sights set on the moon, Israel to launch privately funded spacecraft Friday

                              Beresheet set to touch down in the Sea of Tranquility on April 11; $100 million project, paid for mostly by Jewish donors, would make Israel 4th country to land a craft on the moon



                              • Very exciting times!