Atom Wave: Return To The Moon

Atom Wave

Friday, May 02, 2008

Return To The Moon

Every few years a once in a lifetime opportunity comes along. NASA is looking for people to join them for its return to the Moon. Astronauts? You wish. No, NASA will be launching the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter before the end of the year, and they need names for a small microchip that will be riding aboard.
The liftoff is planned for no earlier then October of this year. Also riding along on the Atlas 5 rocket will be a lunar impacter known as the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. Either way the mission will be a blast; this satellite will get smashed into the Moon to study its internal composition. It is actually the Centaur upper stage of the rocket with a ring of attached instruments. If no one screws up, the Centaur will hit the moon and vaporize any hidden frozen ice ten minutes before the ring instruments collide.
Once the games are over, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will enter into its orbit and begin its observations in advance of astronauts returning in the next decade. The probe is slated to spend 1 year mapping potential landing sites, monitoring radiation, identifying resources, and testing new technology.


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