Orbiting the Moon

Robotic Exploration 1 Comment »

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. 

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Taking the first steps a second time

Human Exploration No Comments »

36 years have passed since we last saw humans walk on the Moon. Since then it has been quiet. What happened? How could we fly astronauts to the Moon in 1972, but not today? Why was the Apollo program cancelled? The tremendous costassociated with the Apollo program was certainly one major factor, and the focus within NASA shifted towards what they strongly believed would be the future: Reusable spacecraft. The massive Saturn 5 rockets were scrapped and the Space Shuttle took over.  To make a long story short: What followed was a complete focus on human access to low earth orbit for 30 years.

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