Later this week, China plans to launch its Chang'e-4 spacecraft to the far side of the lunar surface. The aim is to land a rover on the dark side of the moon for the first time. Blocked from direct communication with the Earth, the lander and rover will depend on China's Queqiao communication satellite launched in May. From Scientific American:
The lander will also conduct the first radio astronomy experiments from the far side of the Moon—and the first investigations to see whether plants will grow in the low-gravity lunar environment...
The ultimate goal of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) is to create a Moon base for future human exploration there, although it has not announced when that might happen.
One of (the experiments) will test whether potato and thale-cress (Arabidopsis) seeds sprout and photosynthesize in a sealed, climate-controlled environment in the low gravity on the lunar surface.
“When we take the step towards long-term human habitation on the Moon or Mars, we will need greenhouse facilities to support us, and will need to live in something like a biosphere,” says Anna-Lisa Paul, a horticultural scientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
(image: CNSA rendering of Chang'e 4 Rover on the Moon)
A new definition of kilogram went into effect today. No longer is the kilogram defined by Le Grand K, a 140-year-old weight under glass in a secret location near Paris. Now it’s determined by the Planck constant, based on physicist Max Planck’s theory that “electromagnetic energy at a given frequency could only be emitted in […]
Here’s the first 14 of 100 proofs that the Earth is a globe, with the rest still to come author David Morgan-Mar. [via] 1. The Blue Marble The most straightforward way to check the shape of the Earth is to look at it. There’s one small problem, though. To see the shape of the Earth […]
Last month, Israeli non-profit SpaceIL’s Beresheet probe made it to the lunar surface but sadly it wasn’t a soft landing. Beresheet was the first private attempt at a lunar landing and they got pretty damn close. A couple weeks after the crash, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter orbited over the area and NASA has released images […]
Raspberry Pi is one of the world’s most versatile open-source computers. Alexa is a home automation hub with limitless potential. Together, they’re a dream team for ambitious makers, opening the door to everything from automatic lights to voice-controlled robots. Learning Raspberry Pi is meant to be relatively easy for newbies, but its applications with Alexa […]
Heads up: The clock is winding down on a free-entry contest to win not only one of the best smartphones on the market but a handy pair of earbuds. A simple sign-up is all you need to be eligible to win a 256 GB iPhone XS Max, along with AirPods. And while “free” is tough […]
Kudos to those of us who have chosen a less wasteful third option to “paper or plastic” at the supermarket or club stores. Tote bags are reusable, but they can be a pain to tote around. Here’s an upgrade to that planet-saving measure. The Club Cart Lotus Trolley Bag is that rare tote you’ll want […]