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Moon-Jupiter Occultation by Andrei Juravle on Flickr.

Via Flickr: On July 15 2012 with Canon 550D on Newton 200/1200 mounted on NEQ6Pro

Moon-Jupiter Occultation by Andrei Juravle on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
On July 15 2012 with Canon 550D on Newton 200/1200 mounted on NEQ6Pro

— 2 years ago with 4 notes
#astronomy  #astrophotography  #moon  #jupiter  #occultation 

Watch The Moon Evolve in 3 Minutes

By Alan Boyle | Cosmic Log on MSNBC.com

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has traced the moon’s early history as well as the latest trash left behind by moonwalkers, and now the team behind the mission has created a video smashing 4.5 billion years of the moon’s existence into less than three minutes.

"Evolution of the Moon," released to mark LRO’s first thousand days in orbit, guides viewers through the moon’s hot formation, through the giant blast that formed the South Pole-Aitken Basin, through the pummeling known as the Heavy Bombardment, right up through the hail of debris that resulted in the cratered satellite we all know and love.

Only one big scene is missing from the show, in my opinion: the catastrophic impact between Earth and another planet, an event that scientists believe led to the moon’s creation. Consider it the prequel to “Evolution of the Moon.”

There’s still another scene that scientists are thinking about adding to the story: a collision involving the moon and a smaller moonlet, sometime after the moon’s formation. Some researchers suspect that such a “Big Splat” could have been responsible for the marked difference in the terrain of the moon’s near side and far side — although others think the Aitken Basin blast or gravitational forces could have done the job. NASA’s GRAIL mission, which was launched last year, could shed more light on that chapter of the story.

There’s also a "Tour of the Moon," about five minutes in length, that guides you through the highlights of the moon’s topography with the help of LRO imagery. You’ll get a quick overview on the mysteries of Orientale Basin and Aitken Basin, the artifacts left behind by the Apollo 17 mission, the far-side craters we can never see from Earth, and the future of lunar exploration. For space fans, it’s must-see video.

— 2 years ago with 5 notes
#Cosmic Log  #Space  #Science  #MSNBC  #Moon  #Luna  #Evolution  #LRO  #NASA  #National Aeronautics and Space Administration  #Orientale Basin  #Aitken Basin  #Moon Basin  #Apollo  #Apollo Mission  #GRAIL Mission  #GRAIL  #Alan Boyle 

expose-the-light:

10 Moons Every Person Should Know

Pretty much everyone can rattle off the names of our solar system’s eight (formerly nine) planets, but ask the average person to list some moons and you’ll be lucky if they can tell you more than two or three.

Now, you obviously can’t expect people to remember the name of every single satellite in the solar system (after all, they outnumber the planets by around 20 to 1), but if you have even the slightest interest in astronomy, it wouldn’t kill you to be familiar with at least an even ten. So with that in mind, we’ve assembled this reference guide to ten of the solar system’s most noteworthy moons.

1. Moon: Europa
Parent Planet: Jupiter
Why You Should Know it: Despite being covered by distinctive, criss-crossing cracks and ridges, Europa’s water-ice surface is largely free of craters, making it perhaps the smoothest solid body in the entire solar system. More interesting than Europa’s frozen exterior, however, is what lies hidden beneath it.

2. Moon: Io
Parent Planet: Jupiter
Why You Should Know it: Io is very close in size to our own moon, but it couldn’t be more different. Despite having a mean surface temperature of less than -250 degrees Fahrenheit, Io is home to over 400 raging volcanos, making it the single most geologically active object in the solar system.

3. Moon: Mimas
Parent Planet: Saturn
Why you should know it: This list is an important reference for any self-respecting science geek, but Mimas is especially relevant for fans of science fiction for what should be obvious reasons. In brief: Mimas is no space station. It’s a moon. Like many of Saturn’s orbiting bodies, Mimas is small and icy, but it’s also home to “Herschel” — the name astronomers have given the massive crater situated on the moon’s leading hemisphere.

4. Moon: Enceladus
Parent Planet: Saturn
Why You Should Know it: Enceladus is one wacky little moon. Like Europa, its surface is covered in water ice, but it’s also home to some of the most impressive geysers in the solar system. Scientists had suspected for years that Enceladus was venting water vapor from its surface, but it wasn’t until 2005 that they had direct visual confirmation that the moon was doing so by spewing jets of the stuff from geysers on its surface.

5. Moon: Triton
Parent Planet: Neptune
Why You Should Know it: Of all the biggest, “major” moons in the solar system, Triton is the only one that orbits in a direction opposite that of its parent planet’s rotation. Astrophysicists call this a “retrograde orbit,” and it’s typical of moons that have been “captured” by their parent planet.

6. Moon: Iapetus
Parent Planet: Saturn
Why You Should Know it: Iapetus may be one of the most mysterious moons we’ve ever discovered. For one thing, it is two completely different colors; the moon’s trailing hemisphere is as bright and reflective as snow, but its leading hemisphere is as dark as freshly poured asphalt — a characteristic that has led many astronomers to refer to it as the “painted” or “yin-yang” moon.

7. Moon: Phobos
Parent Planet: Mars
Why You Should Know it: Mars’ moon Phobos may not be the biggest moon on this list. It may not have the most interesting geology, or the most peculiar orbit, or the most promising environment when it comes to harboring extraterrestrial life. Be that as it may, there is a very, very good chance that it will become the second moon — and the third cosmic body — to host human travelers on mankind’s journey out into the Universe.

8. Moon: Titan
Parent Planet: Saturn
Why You Should Know it: If moons could be considered for reclassification under planetary status, Titan would be the first to come under review. It is the only moon in the entire solar system with a dense atmosphere (which can be clearly seen in the form of an enveloping haze in many recent Cassini images, including the one featured here); it experiences rain and snow; and it’s even home to geological features like lakes, valleys, plains and deserts. In fact, according to NASA’s Dr. Rosaly Lopes, “Titan looks more like the Earth than any other body in the Solar System.”

9. Moon: Hyperion
Parent Planet: Saturn
Why You Should Know it: Phil Plait — astronomer extraordinair and master of ceremonies over at Bad Astronomy — once called Hyperion “the solar system’s weirdest moon” — and that’s saying something. For one thing, Saturn is home to some pretty wonky moons (just look at how many of the natural satellites on this list orbit the ringed planet); secondly, Phil Plait has written about some weird moons in his day — so what makes Hyperion the weirdest? Well, a lot of things, but for starters: the loofah-like moon happens to be weirdly foamy.

10. Moon: Moon
Parent Planet: Earth
Why You Should Know it: It’s hard to go wrong with the original. Sure, it’s the first moon humans ever observed, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that we finally managed to get a glimpse of its far side; and just last week we learned that the Moon may have been partly responsible for sinking the Titanic, demonstrating that our Moon has been — and will always be — a source of wonder and mystery. [Photo, and top photo, by Rick Baldridge via NASA]

— 2 years ago with 1343 notes
#Science  #Astronomy  #10 Moons Every Person Should Know  #Space  #Daily 10  #astrophysics  #mimas  #Europa  #Io  #Moon  #NASA  #Trton  #kim 
paintedoranges:

The Moon, Jupiter & Venus tonight in Dayton, Ohio

paintedoranges:

The Moon, Jupiter & Venus tonight in Dayton, Ohio

(Source: undisclosedstarlight)

— 2 years ago with 16 notes
#astronomy  #beautiful  #outer space  #jupiter  #moon  #venus 
Moonward Bound by gustaffo89 on Flickr.Thank you to fellow Flickr member DigitalAnthill for uploading this to reddit.com yesterday and getting me some much appreciated publicity. Rob, I owe you one.
An A380 (or perhaps a 747) jets into the sky above Guernsey on a beautifully clear April day. I reckon this one’s worth viewing large ;-)
We’ve had some more stunning weather down here in the channel islands, and amazingly clear skies too. I’ve taken a few photos of planes before, but never had the clarity I’ve got here, so there must be something particularly clear about the air today.
Taken with a Sony A33 and Minolta 70-300mm at the long end. No photoshopped elements, just a monochrome conversion and a bit of work on the contrast.
Initially I thought this was a 747, but it’s got the characteristic A380 ‘bulge’ in the centre. Any alternative suggestions are welcome!
Reached #77 in Explore.

Moonward Bound by gustaffo89 on Flickr.

Thank you to fellow Flickr member DigitalAnthill for uploading this to reddit.com yesterday and getting me some much appreciated publicity. Rob, I owe you one.

An A380 (or perhaps a 747) jets into the sky above Guernsey on a beautifully clear April day. I reckon this one’s worth viewing large ;-)

We’ve had some more stunning weather down here in the channel islands, and amazingly clear skies too. I’ve taken a few photos of planes before, but never had the clarity I’ve got here, so there must be something particularly clear about the air today.

Taken with a Sony A33 and Minolta 70-300mm at the long end. No photoshopped elements, just a monochrome conversion and a bit of work on the contrast.

Initially I thought this was a 747, but it’s got the characteristic A380 ‘bulge’ in the centre. Any alternative suggestions are welcome!

Reached #77 in Explore.

— 2 years ago with 21 notes
#747  #Plane  #Moon  #First Quarter  #Day  #Aircraft  #747-400  #Sky  #Detail  #Contrast  #Contrail  #Guernsey  #Channel Islands  #Jet  #B&W  #Monochrome  #Lightroom  #Sony  #A33  #70-300mm Minolta  #Explore  #Explored  #Interestingness  #100  #faves  #earthandspace  #A380  #Airbus  #Underneath  #Below 
Derelict Russian space probe crashes to Earth

Military spokesman reports Phobos-Grunt re-entry over Pacific Ocean
By MSNBC.com Staff and News Service Reports
MOSCOW — A  failed probe that was designed to travel to a moon of Mars but got  stuck in Earth orbit has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Russian  officials said Sunday.
The unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe was one of the heaviest and most  toxic space derelicts ever to crash to Earth, but there were no reports  of injury or damage. There’s a good chance that no one actually saw the  spacecraft’s fiery plunge.
"Phobos-Grunt fragments have crashed down in the Pacific Ocean," the  RIA-Novosti news service quoted Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesman for  Russia’s aerospace defense forces, as saying. The debris zone was said  to be 775 miles (1,250 kilometers) west of Wellington Island in the  South Pacific. Re-entry was estimated to occur at about 12:45 p.m. ET,  based on the data received by the Russians.
In a Twitter update,  the European Space Agency said several sources confirmed that estimate  but added that experts were still checking the details. A later RIA-Novosti report quoted an unnamed source as saying the probe may have continued farther  along its orbital track and crashed in Brazil or into the Atlantic  Ocean.
Russia’s Roscosmos space agency predicted that only between 20 and 30  fragments of the Phobos probe with a total weight of up to 440 pounds  (200 kilograms) would survive the re-entry and plummet to Earth. Heiner  Klinkrad, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office,  agreed with that assessment, adding that about 100 metric tons of space  junk fall on Earth every year.
"This is 200 kilograms out of these 100 tons," he told The Associated Press.
Thousands of pieces of derelict space vehicles orbit Earth,  occasionally posing danger to astronauts and satellites in orbit, but as  far as is known, no one has ever been hurt by falling space debris.
Phobos-Grunt weighed 13.5 metric tons (14.9 English tons), and that  included a load of 11 metric tons (12 tons) of highly toxic rocket fuel  intended for the long journey to the Martian moon of Phobos. It was left  unused as the probe got stuck in orbit around Earth shortly after its  Nov. 9 launch.
Roscosmos said all of the fuel would burn up on re-entry, a forecast  Klinkrad said was supported by calculations done by NASA and ESA.
The space era has seen far larger spacecraft crash. NASA’s Skylab  space station that went down in 1979 weighed 85 tons (77 metric tons),  and Russia’s Mir space station that deorbited in 2001 weighed about 143  tons (130 metric tons). Their descent fueled fears around the world, but  the wreckage of both fell far away from populated areas.
The $170 million Phobos-Grunt mission was Russia’s most expensive and  the most ambitious interplanetary endeavor since Soviet times. The  spacecraft was intended to land on the crater-dented, potato-shaped  Martian moon, collect soil samples and fly them back to Earth, giving  scientists precious materials that could shed more light on the genesis  of the solar system.
Russia’s space chief has acknowledged the Phobos-Grunt mission was  ill-prepared, but said that Roscosmos had to give it the go-ahead so as  not to miss the limited Earth-to-Mars launch window.
Its predecessor, Mars-96, which was built by the same Moscow-based  NPO Lavochkin company, also suffered an engine failure and crashed  shortly after its launch in 1996. Its crash drew strong international  fears because there were 7 ounces (200 grams) of plutonium onboard. The  craft eventually showered its fragments over the Chile-Bolivia border in  the Andes Mountains, and the pieces were never recovered.
The worst-ever radiation spill from a derelict space vehicle came in  January 1978 when the nuclear-powered Cosmos 954 satellite crashed over  northwestern Canada. The Soviets claimed that the craft completely  burned up on re-entry, but a massive recovery effort by Canadian  authorities recovered a dozen fragments, most of which were radioactive.
Phobos-Grunt also contained a tiny quantity of radioactive cobalt-57  in one of its instruments, but Roscosmos said it posed no threat of  radioactive contamination.
The spacecraft also carried a small cylinder with a collection of  microbes as part of an experiment by the California-based Planetary  Society that designed to explore whether they can survive interplanetary  travel. The cylinder was attached to a capsule that was supposed to  deliver Phobos ground samples back to Earth.
It’s not clear whether or not that capsule could have survived  re-entry, but there’s virtually no chance that it will ever be found.
This report includes information from The Associated Press and msnbc.com.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Derelict Russian space probe crashes to Earth

Military spokesman reports Phobos-Grunt re-entry over Pacific Ocean

By MSNBC.com Staff and News Service Reports

A failed probe that was designed to travel to a moon of Mars but got stuck in Earth orbit has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Russian officials said Sunday.

The unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe was one of the heaviest and most toxic space derelicts ever to crash to Earth, but there were no reports of injury or damage. There’s a good chance that no one actually saw the spacecraft’s fiery plunge.

"Phobos-Grunt fragments have crashed down in the Pacific Ocean," the RIA-Novosti news service quoted Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesman for Russia’s aerospace defense forces, as saying. The debris zone was said to be 775 miles (1,250 kilometers) west of Wellington Island in the South Pacific. Re-entry was estimated to occur at about 12:45 p.m. ET, based on the data received by the Russians.

In a Twitter update, the European Space Agency said several sources confirmed that estimate but added that experts were still checking the details. A later RIA-Novosti report quoted an unnamed source as saying the probe may have continued farther along its orbital track and crashed in Brazil or into the Atlantic Ocean.

Russia’s Roscosmos space agency predicted that only between 20 and 30 fragments of the Phobos probe with a total weight of up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms) would survive the re-entry and plummet to Earth. Heiner Klinkrad, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, agreed with that assessment, adding that about 100 metric tons of space junk fall on Earth every year.

"This is 200 kilograms out of these 100 tons," he told The Associated Press.

Thousands of pieces of derelict space vehicles orbit Earth, occasionally posing danger to astronauts and satellites in orbit, but as far as is known, no one has ever been hurt by falling space debris.

Phobos-Grunt weighed 13.5 metric tons (14.9 English tons), and that included a load of 11 metric tons (12 tons) of highly toxic rocket fuel intended for the long journey to the Martian moon of Phobos. It was left unused as the probe got stuck in orbit around Earth shortly after its Nov. 9 launch.

Roscosmos said all of the fuel would burn up on re-entry, a forecast Klinkrad said was supported by calculations done by NASA and ESA.

The space era has seen far larger spacecraft crash. NASA’s Skylab space station that went down in 1979 weighed 85 tons (77 metric tons), and Russia’s Mir space station that deorbited in 2001 weighed about 143 tons (130 metric tons). Their descent fueled fears around the world, but the wreckage of both fell far away from populated areas.

The $170 million Phobos-Grunt mission was Russia’s most expensive and the most ambitious interplanetary endeavor since Soviet times. The spacecraft was intended to land on the crater-dented, potato-shaped Martian moon, collect soil samples and fly them back to Earth, giving scientists precious materials that could shed more light on the genesis of the solar system.

Russia’s space chief has acknowledged the Phobos-Grunt mission was ill-prepared, but said that Roscosmos had to give it the go-ahead so as not to miss the limited Earth-to-Mars launch window.

Its predecessor, Mars-96, which was built by the same Moscow-based NPO Lavochkin company, also suffered an engine failure and crashed shortly after its launch in 1996. Its crash drew strong international fears because there were 7 ounces (200 grams) of plutonium onboard. The craft eventually showered its fragments over the Chile-Bolivia border in the Andes Mountains, and the pieces were never recovered.

The worst-ever radiation spill from a derelict space vehicle came in January 1978 when the nuclear-powered Cosmos 954 satellite crashed over northwestern Canada. The Soviets claimed that the craft completely burned up on re-entry, but a massive recovery effort by Canadian authorities recovered a dozen fragments, most of which were radioactive.

Phobos-Grunt also contained a tiny quantity of radioactive cobalt-57 in one of its instruments, but Roscosmos said it posed no threat of radioactive contamination.

The spacecraft also carried a small cylinder with a collection of microbes as part of an experiment by the California-based Planetary Society that designed to explore whether they can survive interplanetary travel. The cylinder was attached to a capsule that was supposed to deliver Phobos ground samples back to Earth.

It’s not clear whether or not that capsule could have survived re-entry, but there’s virtually no chance that it will ever be found.

This report includes information from The Associated Press and msnbc.com.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

— 2 years ago with 25 notes
#Astronomy  #Science  #Space  #Space Science  #Military  #Russian  #Russia  #Space Probe  #Spacecraft  #Probe Crash  #Crash  #Earth  #Pacific Ocean  #Phobos-Grunt  #MSNBC  #Moscow  #Moon  #Mars  #Mars Mission  #Mars Moon  #Phobos Moon  #Orbit  #RIA-Novosti  #Alexei Zolotukhin  #Aerospace  #Aerospace Defense Forces  #Wellington Island  #South Pacific  #ESA  #European Space Agency 

 Paul Spudis’ Plan for a Sustainable and Affordable Lunar Base

by Nancy Atkinson | Universe Today’s Senior Editor

It’s long been a dream to have a human settlement on the Moon, but in this age of budget cuts and indecisive plans for NASA’s future, a Moon base may seem too costly and beyond our reach. However, noted lunar scientist Dr. Paul Spudis from the Lunar and Planetary Institute and a colleague, Tony Lavoie from the Marshall Space Flight Center, have come up with a plan for building a lunar settlement that is not only affordable but sustainable. It creates a Moon base along with a type of ‘transcontinental railroad’ in space which opens up cislunar space – the area between Earth and the Moon – for development.

“The ultimate goal in space is to be able to go anywhere, anytime with as much capability as we need,” Spudis told Universe Today. “This plan uses a robotic and human presence on the Moon to use the local resources to create a new spacefaring system. The key for doing this is to adopt a flexible approach that is incremental and cumulative.”

 In a nutshell what Spudis proposes is to send robots to the Moon which are tele-operated from Earth to start extracting water from the polar deposits to create propellant. The propellant would be used to fuel a reusable space transportation system between the Earth and the Moon.

“The reason this is possible is because the Moon is close – it’s only three light-seconds round trip for radio signal get from Earth to the Moon back,” Spudis said, “which means you can control machines remotely with operators on the Earth actually doing the activities that an astronaut might do on the Moon.”

The advantage here is that a large part of the needed infrastructure, such as the mining operation, the processing plants, the development of storage for the water and propellant, is created before people even arrive.

“So what we try to do is to develop an architecture that enables us to, first, do this in small, incremental steps, with each step building upon the next, and the net effect is cumulative over time,”Spudis said. “And finally we are able to bring people to the Moon when we’re ready to actually have them live there. We place an outpost — a habitat — that will be fully operational before the first humans arrive.”

The significant amount of water than has been found on the Moon at the poles makes this plan work.

“We estimate there are many tens of billions of tons of water at both poles,” Spudis said. “What we don’t know in detail is exactly how much water is distributed what physical state it is in, and that’s one of the reasons why the first step in our plan is to send robotic prospectors up there to map the deposits and see how they vary.”

Water is an important resource for humans in space: it supports life for drinking and cooking, it can be broken down into oxygen for breathing, and by combing the oxygen and hydrogen in a fuel cell, electricity can be generated. Water is also a very good shielding material that could protect people from cosmic radiation, so the habitat could be “jacketed” with water.

But the most important use of water is being able to create a powerful chemical rocket propellant by using the oxygen and hydrogen and freezing them into a liquid.

“The Moon offers us this water not only to support human life there, but also to make rocket propellant to allow us to refuel our spacecraft both on the Moon and space above the Moon.”

In a series of 17 incremental missions, a human base would be built, made operational and occupied. It starts with setting up communication and navigation satellites around the Moon to enable precision operation for the robotic systems.

Next would sending rover to the Moon, perhaps a variant of the MER rovers that are currently exploring Mars, to prospect the best places for water at the lunar poles. The poles also provide areas of permanent sunlight to generate electrical power.

Next, larger equipment would be sent to experiment with digging up the ice deposits, melting the ice and storing the products.

“Now, all those are simple conceptually, but we’ve never done them in practice,” said Spudis, “so we don’t know how difficult it is. But by sending the small robotic missions to the Moon and practicing this via remote control from Earth, we can evaluate how difficult it is — where the chokepoints are — and what are the most efficient ways to get to these deposits and to extract usable a product from them.”

The next step is to increase the magnitude of the effort by landing bigger robotic machines that can actually start making product on industrial scales so that a depot of supplies can be stockpiled on the Moon for when the first human humans to return to the Moon.

In the meantime, a constant transportation system between Earth and Moon would be created, with another system that goes between the Moon and lunar orbit, which opens up all kinds of possibilities.

“The analogy I like to make is this is very similar to the Transcontinental Railroad,” Spudis said. “We didn’t just build the Transcontinental Railroad to from the East Coast directly to the West Coast; we also built it to access all the points in between, which consequently were developed economically as well.”

By having a system where the vehicles are refueled from the resources extracted on the Moon, a system is created that routinely accesses the Moon and allows for returning to Earth, but all the other points in between can be accessed as well.

“We create a transportation system that accesses all those points between Earth and Moon. The significance of that is, much of our satellite assets reside there,” said Spudis, “ for example communication satellites and weather monitoring satellites reside in geosynchronous orbit, (about 36,000 km above the Earth’s equator) and right now we cannot reach that from low Earth orbit. If we have system that can routinely go back and forth to the Moon, we could also go to these high orbits where a lot of commercial and national security assets are.”

Spudis added that a fuel depot could go in various locations, including the L1 LaGrange point which would enable space flight beyond the Moon.

How long will this take?

“We estimate that we can create an entire turn-key lunar outpost on the Moon within about 15 to 16 years, with humans arriving about 10 years after the initial robotic missions go,” Spudis said. “The mining operation would produce about 150 tons of water per year and roughly 100 tons of propellant.

And do any new technologies or hardware have to be built?

“Not really,” said Spudis. “Effectively this plan is possible to achieve right now with existing technology. We don’t have any ‘unobtainium’ or any special magical machine that has to be built. It is all very simple outgrowths of existing equipment, and many cases you can use the heritage equipment from previous missions.”

And what about the cost?

Spudis estimates that the entire system could be established for an aggregate cost of less than $88 billion, which would be about $5 billion a year, with peak funding of $6.65 billion starting in Year 11. This total cost includes development of a Shuttle-derived 70 mT launch vehicle, two versions of a Crew Exploration Vehicles (LEO and translunar), a reusable lander, cislunar propellant depots and all robotic surface assets, as well as all of the operational costs of mission support for this architecture.

“The best part is that because we have broken our architecture into small chunks, each mission is largely self-contained and once it gets to the Moon it interacts and works with the pieces that are already there,” Spudis said.

And the budget would be flexible.

“We can do this project at whatever speed the resources permit,” Spudis said. “So if you have a very constrained budget with very low levels of expenditure, you can go you just go much more slowly. If you have more resources available you can increase the speed and increase the rate of asset emplacement on the Moon and do more in a shorter period of time. This architecture gets us back to the Moon and creates real capability. But the free variable is schedule, not money.”

Returning to the Moon is important, Spudis believes, because not only can we use the resources there, but it teaches us how to be a spacefaring civilization.

“By going to the Moon we can learn how to extract what we need in space from what we find in space,” he said. “Fundamentally that is a skill that any spacefaring civilization has to master. If you can learn to do that, you’ve got a skill that will allow you to go to Mars and beyond.”

For more information see Spudis’ website, SpudisLunarResources.com More details and graphs can be found on this pdf document.

Listen to an interview of Paul Spudis on this topic for the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast.

Paul Spudis blogs at Once and Future Moon at Smithonsian Air & Space website.

(Source: universetoday.com)

— 2 years ago with 16 notes
#Universe  #Universe Today  #Nancy Atkinson  #Moon  #Lunar Base  #Moon Base  #Paul Spudis  #Sustainable  #Sustainability  #Affordable  #Moon Settlement  #NASA  #Astronomy  #Space  #Science  #Space Science  #National Aeronautics and Space Administration  #Lunar Scientist  #Lunar and Planetary Institute  #LPI  #Tony Lavoie  #Marshal Space Flight Center  #MSFC  #LaGrange Point  #Lunar LaGrange Point  #Space Flight  #Spudis Lunar Resources 
Earth’s Moon

Photographed  by the Expedition 28 crew aboard the International Space Station, this  image shows the moon, the Earth’s only natural satellite, at center with  the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored  troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth’s  atmosphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which  appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and  blue-colored atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds extend far  above the Earth’s troposphere. Image Credit: NASA

Earth’s Moon

Photographed by the Expedition 28 crew aboard the International Space Station, this image shows the moon, the Earth’s only natural satellite, at center with the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and blue-colored atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds extend far above the Earth’s troposphere.

Image Credit: NASA

— 2 years ago with 8 notes
#NASA  #National Aeronautics and Space Administration  #Space  #Science  #Astronomy  #Space Science  #Planetary Science  #Image of the Day  #IOTD  #Image of the Day Gallery  #Gallery  #Image Gallery  #Earth  #Moon  #Earth's Moon  #Photography  #Astrophotography  #Expedition 28  #Expedition 28 Crew  #ISS  #International Space Station  #Earth's Satellite  #Earth's Limb  #Troposphere  #Atmosphere  #Tropopause  #Noctilucent  #Noctilucent Clouds  #Noctilucent Cloud  #Clouds 
Asteroids May Have Brought Precious Metals to Earth

By Charles Q. Choi, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor

The precious metals that we see on Earth today may be largely  heavenly in nature, coming from the sky billions of years ago,  scientists now find.
Back when the Earth was just forming,  the materials that make up the planet were combining and  differentiating into layers by weight — lighter materials floated to the  surface and now make up Earth’s crust, while heavier materials such as  iron sank to the planet’s interior.
Our understanding of planet formation suggested that precious metals  such as gold and tungsten should have moved into Earth’s iron core long  ago, due to the affinity they have for bonding with iron. Surprisingly,  precious metals instead appear relatively abundant on the planet’s  surface and in the underlying mantle layer.
To help resolve this discrepancy, scientists investigated ancient  rocks from Isua, Greenland, to see how the planet changed over time and  when precious metals entered the picture. Their analysis revealed that  the composition of the Earth changed dramatically about 3.9 billion  years ago. This violent era was known as the Late Heavy Bombardment,  when hordes of asteroids smashed into Earth and the other inner planets —  the aftermath of this onslaught is still evident in the many craters that litter the surface of the moon.
Those hordes of asteroids brought with them a bevy of precious metals.
"This is the process by which we have most of the precious elements  accessible on Earth today," researcher Matthias Willbold, a geologist at  the University of Bristol in England, told OurAmazingPlanet.
Willbold and his colleagues concentrated on investigating the ancient  Greenland rocks for isotopes of tungsten, a metal that, like gold, has  an affinity for bonding with iron. Isotopes of tungsten each have 74  protons in their atoms but different numbers of neutrons — tungsten-182  has 108 neutrons, while tungsten-184 has 110.
When the scientists compared modern rocks with Greenland samples that predated the Late Heavy Bombardment,  they discovered the ratio of tungsten-182 to tungsten-184 is 13  parts-per-million lower in modern rocks. Willbold and his colleagues say  this difference suggests that much of the tungsten and precious metals  seen in modern rocks came from meteor strikes. (Primitive meteorites are  known to have significantly depleted levels of tungsten-182 compared to  tungsten-184).
The scientists posit that these meteor strikes may also have  triggered the flow of hot rock in the upper layer of the mantle right  below the Earth’s crust that is seen up to the present day.
"We want to measure more ancient samples to see how the mantle might have changed over time," Willbold said.
The researchers detail their findings in the (Sept. 8) issue of the journal Nature.

Asteroids May Have Brought Precious Metals to Earth

By Charles Q. Choi, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor


The precious metals that we see on Earth today may be largely heavenly in nature, coming from the sky billions of years ago, scientists now find.

Back when the Earth was just forming, the materials that make up the planet were combining and differentiating into layers by weight — lighter materials floated to the surface and now make up Earth’s crust, while heavier materials such as iron sank to the planet’s interior.

Our understanding of planet formation suggested that precious metals such as gold and tungsten should have moved into Earth’s iron core long ago, due to the affinity they have for bonding with iron. Surprisingly, precious metals instead appear relatively abundant on the planet’s surface and in the underlying mantle layer.

To help resolve this discrepancy, scientists investigated ancient rocks from Isua, Greenland, to see how the planet changed over time and when precious metals entered the picture. Their analysis revealed that the composition of the Earth changed dramatically about 3.9 billion years ago. This violent era was known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, when hordes of asteroids smashed into Earth and the other inner planets — the aftermath of this onslaught is still evident in the many craters that litter the surface of the moon.

Those hordes of asteroids brought with them a bevy of precious metals.

"This is the process by which we have most of the precious elements accessible on Earth today," researcher Matthias Willbold, a geologist at the University of Bristol in England, told OurAmazingPlanet.

Willbold and his colleagues concentrated on investigating the ancient Greenland rocks for isotopes of tungsten, a metal that, like gold, has an affinity for bonding with iron. Isotopes of tungsten each have 74 protons in their atoms but different numbers of neutrons — tungsten-182 has 108 neutrons, while tungsten-184 has 110.

When the scientists compared modern rocks with Greenland samples that predated the Late Heavy Bombardment, they discovered the ratio of tungsten-182 to tungsten-184 is 13 parts-per-million lower in modern rocks. Willbold and his colleagues say this difference suggests that much of the tungsten and precious metals seen in modern rocks came from meteor strikes. (Primitive meteorites are known to have significantly depleted levels of tungsten-182 compared to tungsten-184).

The scientists posit that these meteor strikes may also have triggered the flow of hot rock in the upper layer of the mantle right below the Earth’s crust that is seen up to the present day.

"We want to measure more ancient samples to see how the mantle might have changed over time," Willbold said.

The researchers detail their findings in the (Sept. 8) issue of the journal Nature.

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