Orbiting the Moon

Robotic Exploration Add comments

After a long period with very low activity around the Moon, a multitude of robotic lunar exploration projects have been been launched the last years, and even more missions are coming in the near future. The roboti exploration party started in the 90’s with Hiten (1990) from JAXA and Clementine (1994) and Lunar Prospector (1998) from NASA, and they were followed up by Smart-1 (2003) from ESA. Data from these missions have among other things been used to produce accurate gravity maps, mineral distribution maps and medium resolution surface maps. 

Currently there are two operational spacecraft in orbit around the Moon, Kaguya (2007) from JAXA and Chang’e-1 (2007) from CNSA. The main objective of both these spacecraft is to produce high resolution maps of the moon (gravitatinal and magnetic fields, mineral distribution, 2d and 3d topographical maps).

ISRO will launch Chandrayaan this autumn and NASA will launch the LRO and LCROSS in November. Both missions will complement the ongoing mapping and science objectives of Kaguya and Chang’e-1. Roskosmos will launch Luna-Glob in 2009, CNSA will allegedly launch a Chang’e-1follow-up in 2009, ISRO is planning to launch Chandrayaan-II in 2010 and NASA will launch Grail and LADEE in 2011. Other missions are planned but have not yet received funding.

One Response to “Orbiting the Moon”

  1. Eric Teske Says:

    Are they still in orbit around the moon, is there an update? Do you have any tips for iPhone photos of the moon? This is the best I could come up with http://stellarneophyte.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-photograph-moon-on-iphone-one.html

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