Humans have left 400,000 pounds of "garbage" on the moon

Humans have left approximately 400,000 pounds (181,000 kilograms) of "trash" on the lunar surface. That includes probes, rovers, landers, a metallic olive branch, a hammer and falcon feather (for a gravity experiment, image below), two golf balls, a javelin, a urine collection assembly (small), various rakes and hammer, a portrait of James Irwin, 100 $2 bills, flags, and so many more items. In fact, here is NASA's list of manmade objects on the moon, although it hasn't been updated in 6 years. From Space.com:

Although many people might call the odds and ends humans have left on the moon "garbage" (what else would you call a used urine-collection assembly?), NASA takes a kinder view.

Researchers can study these objects to see how their materials weathered the radiation and vacuum of space over time, (NASA chief historian William) Barry said. Moreover, some of the objects on the moon are still being used, including a laser-range reflector left by the Apollo 11 crew. [What Does the Top of the Moon Look Like?]

Researchers on Earth can ping this reflector with lasers, which allows them to measure the distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA. These experiments helped scientists realize that the moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) a year, NASA reported.

The so-called trash left on the moon also has archaeological merit, Barry said. Future lunar visitors may want to view the old Apollo sites and see gear from NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and other countries, Barry said.

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Vodafone and Nokia building 4G network for the moon

Vodafone Germany and Nokia are designing a 4G network for the moon. The network is meant to support PTScientists's "Mission to the Moon" that involves the Berlin-based company launching a lunar lander and two moon rovers aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. (PTSScientists was one of the teams competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE that's ending this month without a winner.) From Space.com:

Vodafone picked Nokia to build a space-worthy version of its Ultra Compact Network, one that will be the lightest ever made, at just 2.2 lbs. (1 kilogram) — no heavier than a bag of sugar, Vodafone representatives said in a statement.

"This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure," Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter said in the same statement. "It is also a great example of an independent, multi-skilled team achieving an objective of immense significance through their courage, pioneering spirit and inventiveness."

Under the plan, PTScientists' ALINA lander will use the 4G network to beam the first live HD video feed from the surface of the moon. The signal, which will operate in the 1,800-MHz frequency band, "will be broadcast to a global audience via a deep space link that interconnects with the PTScientists server in the Mission Control Centre in Berlin," according to the statement.

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Quiz: pancake or moon?

Pancakes are delicious, and they can also look a lot like moons, as proven in Alternative Moons by Nadine Schlieper and Robert Pufleb. I tried my hand at making a few lunar flapjacks and gathering up some mouthwatering moons. Answers in the comments! Read the rest

It took 83 engines to get to the moon

Amy Shira Teitel of Vintage Space shares lots of cool facts about the golden age of space exploration. Here, she enumerates the engines (and motors) it took Apollo to get to the moon. Read the rest

ISS astronaut asked if he took home a piece of the moon

A beautiful exchange between returning starman Major Tim and a presumably tired and unprepared interviewer. Read the rest

Here's a moving video montage of the total eclipse

Now that eclipse mania has settled down a bit, were seeing a round of work by editors and artists who needed a little time to shape their images and video into something even more transcendent. Erick Oh's Totality is among the best of these. Read the rest

Celebrate Apollo 17’s 44th anniversary with this footage of astronauts singing on the Moon

Apollo 17—the last manned mission to the Moon—landed on the lunar surface on December 19, 1972. To celebrate, here’s some delightful footage of astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt singing as they hop around the Moon. Read the rest

How to see the extraordinary "supermoon" on Monday

On Monday November 14, we'll have the opportunity to see the full moon closer to Earth than its been since 1948, and won't be again until 2034. It will be a spectacular sight. From NASA:

The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigree — the point at which the moon is closest to Earth — the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and because it is larger shines 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth....

The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn. On Monday, Nov. 14, the moon is at perigee at 6:22 a.m. EST and “opposite” the sun for the full moon at 8:52 a.m. EST (after moonset for most of the US).

If you’re not an early riser, no worries. “I’ve been telling people to go out at night on either Sunday or Monday night to see the supermoon,” said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. “The difference in distance from one night to the next will be very subtle, so if it’s cloudy on Sunday, go out on Monday. Any time after sunset should be fine.

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Great moments in space history: farting on the moon

YouTuber Barb Ackue (get it?) was kind enough to upload an important moment in US history: Commander John Young complaining about flatulence while Apollo 16 was on the lunar surface. After working through some technical issues, Young says: Read the rest

A topographically accurate lunar globe designed with data From NASA

Oscar Lhermitte and Kudu's MOON lunar globe eclipses every other Kickstarter project currently underway.

MOON is the most accurate lunar globe, using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter topographic data combined with electronic and mechanical engineering alongside careful craftsmanship in mold making.

MOON is unlike traditional lunar globes that uses 2D photographs or illustrations of the Moon.

1. it is a truly accurate 1/20 million replica of the Moon featuring all the craters, elevation and ridges in accurate 3D.

2. it has a ring of LED lights that revolves around the globe, constantly illuminating the correct face of the moon and recreating the lunar phases as seen from Earth.

The combination of the 3D terrain with a light source is what makes it unique. By projecting the light onto the Moon, all the craters, ridges and elevations are brought into relief by their shadows. This recreates the lunar features as we see them from Earth.

For the first time, MOON allows you to see the side not visible from Earth ("dark side of the Moon" or "far side" to be scientifically correct).

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NASA releases weird "moon music" heard by astronauts in 1969

NASA has released recordings of weird sounds Apollo 10 astronauts heard while flying around the far side of the moon, and the crew responding to the strange phenomenon. Read the rest

Moon Photography 101

Are you planning on taking a trip to the Moon? If so, you'll want to create a commemorative photo album.  

The moon is a pretty desolate place and the truth is, you just don’t have a whole lot to work with. You’ve got moon dust, some craters and if you’re lucky, you’ve got some shadow and light. Read the rest

Over 8,400 NASA Apollo moon mission photos just landed online, in high-resolution

Space fans, rejoice: today, just about every image captured by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions is now on the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account. There are some 8,400 photographs in all at a resolution of 1800 dpi, and they're sorted by the roll of film they were on. Read the rest

Let's build a Moon village, says European Space Agency's new director

"I propose a Moon village on the far side of the Moon," says Johann-Dietrich Woerner who has been in the role of Director General of the European Space Agency (Esa) for just a week. Read the rest

Epic photo of the International Space Station passing in front of the moon

A stunning capture of the ISS in front of Earth's moon, by Dylan O'Donnell.

A new tent for camping on the moon

For anyone planning a trip to the moon, MIT has just designed a pill-shaped inflatable moon tent that fills with oxygen and comfortably sleeps two. The portable habitat also protects moon explorers from the sun's rays, contains food and water, and has a system that keeps potentially harmful moon dust out of the sleeping quarters. This futuristic tent, in its early stages, would allow astronauts to stray from the lunar lander and spend more time on the actual surface of the moon.

Such an overnight shelter could double the distance reachable from a permanent, as-yet-to-be-built moon base. This could, for instance, help explorers investigate a variety of sites at the 60-mile-wide Copernicus impact crater, one of the most prominent craters on the moon.

For more details and images, click here.

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Interview with the guy who stole moon rocks from NASA so he could have sex with his girlfriend on them

In 2002 a 25-year-old NASA intern named Thad Roberts stole 17 pounds of moon rocks so he could have sex on the moon with his girlfriend. After he was caught selling the used rocks on the Internet, he spent 100 months in prison. Live Science interviewed Roberts in 2011.

What was it like to possess those moon rocks? Was the experience worth the consequences?

Time is the most valuable asset of the human experience. I, like many others, am filled with awe when I reflect upon how those rocks demonstrate humanity's limitless potential, or when I ponder the romantic expression that they poetically embody. But that awe does not live within those rocks. It belongs to all of us. From experience I can say that there are more appropriate, and more productive, ways to come face-to-face with our magnificent insignificance than stealing a piece of the moon. You can ponder the vast reaches of space and time as you peer through a telescope at Orion's Great Nebula, or you can simply breathe in the experience of being in love. Whatever you do, don't repeat my mistakes.

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