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  • China’s Chang’e-1 Captures Its First Image of the Moon
    Moon s surface analyzing the abundance and distribution of elements on the lunar surface and investigating the characteristics of lunar regolith and the powdery soil layer on the surface The area covered by the photograph about 460 kilometers in length and 280 kilometers in width is located within 54 to 70 south latitude and 57 to 83 east longitude according to the China National Space Administration CNSA Data were collected on November 20 and 21 transmitted back to Earth and then processed into the three dimensional photo composed of 19 images each covering a width of 60 kilometers of the Moon s surface The far right of the picture was the first area to be captured by the CCD camera onboard Chang e 1 Chang e 1 is carrying eight probe type pieces of equipment including a stereo camera and interferometer imager and gamma X ray spectrometer laser altimeter microwave detector high energy solar particle detector and low energy ion detector The lunar probe represents a third milestone in China s space exploration program following the success of manmade satellites and manned space flights The Chinese people s dream of flying to the Moon for more than 1 000 years

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/chang_e/firstimage/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA Tests Lunar Habitat in Extreme Antarctic Environment
    National Science Foundation in Arlington Virginia which manages McMurdo Station and ILC Dover the company that manufactured the prototype structure All three organizations will share data from the 13 month test which runs from January 2008 to February 2009 An inflatable habitat is one of several concepts being considered for astronaut housing on the Moon and is being developed under NASA s Innovative Partnerships Program Testing the inflatable habitat in one of the harshest most remote sites on Earth gives us the opportunity to see what it would be like to use for lunar exploration said Paul Lockhart director of Constellation Systems for NASA s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate NASA s Constellation Program is working to send humans back to the Moon by the year 2020 After initial sorties the astronauts will set up a lunar outpost for long duration stays and they will need a place to live The agency is developing concepts for habitation modules that provide protection for the astronauts and are easy to transport to the lunar surface To land one pound of supplies on the lunar surface it ll require us to launch 125 pounds of hardware and fuel to get it there Lockhart said So our habitation concepts have to be lightweight as well as durable This prototype inflatable habitat can be taken down and redeployed multiple times and it only takes four crew members a few hours to set up permitting exploration beyond the initial landing area The structure looks something like an inflatable backyard bounce house for children but it is far more sophisticated It is insulated and heated has power and is pressurized It offers 384 square feet of living space and has at its highest point an 8 foot ceiling During the test period sensors will allow engineers to monitor

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/lunar_habitat/ (2016-02-15)
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  • KAGUYA (SELENE) Takes First HDTV Image
    missions were the first to take images of Earth rising over the Moon KAGUYA successfully captured high definition images of the Earth rise showing an impressive image of the blue Earth which was the only floating object in pitch dark space These are the world s first high definition Earth images taken from about 380 000 kilometers away from the Earth in space The image was taken by KAGUYA s

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/kaguya/hdtv/index.shtml (2016-02-15)
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  • Administrator Griffin to Speak at Upcoming 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
    The lunar focus for the 39th LPSC is especially timely in light of its coincidence with the LPI s 40th anniversary The Institute was established in 1968 during the Apollo missions to create a new lunar and planetary science community and over the past four decades has served as an international leader and focal point for what is now a diverse and thriving community We are pleased to celebrate this

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/lpsc2008/griffin/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Local Scientist Helps Unravel the Mystery of a Rare Earthquake that Shook Hawaii
    Island Seven minutes later a 6 0 magnitude temblor occurred nearly 12 miles deep off Mahukona Several hundred smaller aftershocks followed This particular earthquake and aftershock was definitely a rarity McGovern describes the two related events as fraternal twins who are born minutes apart but with different features According to McGovern It is unusual for aftershocks to have a different mechanism but it s not unheard of The weight of Hawaii s volcanos has always put a huge load on the Earth s lithosphere which bends and creates stresses that cause earthquakes McGovern described two main types of earthquake mechanisms one resulting from rocks being stretched and pulled apart called extensional and the other where blocks of rock are pushed together called compressional In this instance the Kiholo Bay earthquake was extensional deep in the Earth s mantle and the shallower temblor while still in the mantle was compressional It wasn t a surprise per se but it said to me immediately this was something having to do with the lithosphere the strong outer layer of Earth responding to the load of volcanos McGovern said In 1868 the Hawaiian Islands faced a series of severe earthquakes that reached 7 9

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/earthquake/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Scientists Discover Record Fifth Planet Orbiting Nearby Star
    band around the star where the temperature would permit liquid water to pool on solid surfaces The distance from its star is approximately 72 5 million miles slightly closer than Earth to our Sun but it orbits a star that is slightly fainter The gas giant planets in our solar system all have large moons said Debra Fischer an astronomer at San Francisco State University and lead author of a paper that will appear in a future issue of the Astrophysical Journal If there is a moon orbiting this new massive planet it might have pools of liquid water on a rocky surface Fischer astronomer Geoff Marcy of the University of California Berkeley and a team of collaborators discovered this planet after careful observation of 2000 nearby stars with the Shane telescope at Lick Observatory located on Mt Hamilton east of San Jose California and the W M Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea Hawaii More than 320 velocity measurements were required to disentangle signals from each of the planets This is the first quintuple planet system Fischer said This system has a dominant gas giant planet in an orbit similar to our Jupiter Like the planets orbiting our Sun most of these planets reside in nearly circular orbits Discovering these five planets took us 18 years of continuous observations at Lick Observatory starting before any extrasolar planets were known anywhere in the universe said Marcy who contributed to the paper But finding five extrasolar planets orbiting a star is only one small step Earth like planets are the next destination The planets around 55 Cancri are somewhat different from those orbiting our Sun The innermost planet is believed to be about the size of Neptune and whips around the star in less than three days at a distance from the

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/cancri/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA to Establish Nationwide Lunar Science Institute
    1 2008 NLSI will augment other already established lunar science investigations funded by NASA by encouraging the formation of interdisciplinary research teams that are larger than those currently at work in lunar science I am excited about NLSI said Alan Stern associate administrator for NASA s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters As the National Academy of Sciences has told us the science to be done at the Moon and from the Moon are of high value and NLSI will help us coordinate and expand a number of in depth research efforts in lunar science and other fields that can benefit from human and robotic missions that are part of NASA s exploration plans NLSI research teams will address current topics in basic lunar science and perhaps astronomical solar and Earth science investigations that could be performed from the Moon They also will offer a quick response capability for lunar science support to NASA s Exploration Initiative A national search for a NLSI director is currently underway Most work done under NLSI s banner will take place at other NASA centers universities and nonprofit research groups around the nations These groups will be competitively selected after scientific peer review Initially NASA will select four or five teams for grants of 1 to 2 million each for three years with renewals of up to five years NASA will solicit team proposals in a 2008 NASA Research Announcement By late 2008 about 50 researchers around the U S could be working under NLSI s banner By 2010 that number could double Funds for this effort are part of the President s proposed 2008 NASA budget for the lunar science project within the planetary research program now under consideration in Congress We re delighted NASA Ames was chosen to lead this exciting new

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/lsi/ (2016-02-15)
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  • China Successfully Launches Chang’e 1
    The fuel carried by the orbiter accounts for nearly half its total weight Chang e 1 named after a legendary Chinese goddess of the Moon is expected to enter Earth Moon transfer orbit on October 31 and is expected to enter the Moon s orbit on November 5 The satellite will relay the first picture of the Moon in late November and will then continue scientific explorations of the Moon

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/chang_e/launch/ (2016-02-15)
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