The Moon was once thought to be a barren place, devoid of all water. But, in the last few years, several spacecraft have found water ice hidden within craters on our planetary companion. Now, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found evidence that molecules of water are bouncing around the lunar surface. As ice is heated in one area, it moves to another nearby place, where it falls into shadow, and freezes once more on the surface of the Moon. Water will be a vital resource as humans populate the Solar System, and the Moon may be the first stopping-off point on the way to the planets.Read More Water Seen Hopping Around the Surface of the Moon
The Moon was once thought to be completely dry and barren. In recent years, however, a number of spacecraft have revealed evidence for water ice in craters near the lunar poles. Most astronomers believed this ice was placed there through collisions with water-rich comets. A new study from NASA now shows that the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun, can interact with materials on the lunar surface, producing water. Supplies of water will be essential for the human exploration of the solar system.Read More Water Could Form on the Surface of the Moon, Thanks to the Solar Wind
The oldest rock from Earth ever found was recently discovered hiding on the Moon. The four-billion-year-old rock was found among the samples returned from the Moon by the astronauts of Apollo 14. Analysis shows this rock formed on Earth, was blasted into space when an asteroid hit our planet four billion years ago, ejecting the rock onto the surface of the Moon. Once there, the area was hit by an asteroid, burying big Bertha, before another impact raised it, once again, to the surface. It was returned to Earth in 1971 by astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell.Read More Earth’s Oldest Rock Found – It was Hiding on the Moon!
The Chinese space program recently landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, and has begun growing plants there. Neither of these feats have ever been accomplished by any other nation. Bolstered by their success, the Chinese space agency has announced plans to return sample materials from the Moon and Mars, and to construct a base on the Moon, to be constructed with a 3D printer. These missions have some people asking if China is now leading the way in space exploration, surpassing the United States and Russia. The U.S. has not sent an astronaut past low-Earth orbit since 1972.Read More Is China Leading the Exploration of Space?
The Chang-e 4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the Moon on January 3rd, marking the first time the distant half of the lunar surface has been visited by a robotic explorer. The Chinese spacecraft arrived with a rover, the Yutu 2, which was successfully released to explore the alien landscape. Also on-board is a miniature biosphere, containing four species of plants, yeast, and fruit flies. Mission planners hope to use the system to grow flowers on the Moon, an experiment which could lead the way to growing food for the future human colonization of the Solar System.Read More Growing Flowers on the Lunar Surface? China Lands Chang-e 4 Rover on the Far Side of the Moon
The first lunar eclipse of 2019 will happen on the night of January 20th, peaking at around 9:30pm eastern time, 7:30 in Arizona and Mountain time, 6:30 Pacific. This will also coincide with a supermoon, when the Earth is closest to Earth. To view the phenomenon, just find a spot with a good view of the Moon that night. The entire event will take several hours to unfold.Read More The First Lunar Eclipse of 2019 — It’s Going to be a Supermoon (and Time)
Water ice has been confirmed on The Moon for the first time ever. This discovery, made by the Indian Space Research Organization, was announced by NASA. Ice was seen collecting in areas near the northern and southern poles of the Moon, which are always in shadow. This finding could make it easier for humans to colonize the Solar System.Read More Water Ice Confirmed on the Moon – What does this mean for the Future of Space Travel?
NASA is planning to send a space station into orbit around the Moon. The first flights to build the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will begin in 2022. Once complete, space travelers will spend between 30 and 60 days at the station. There, they will gather materials from the lunar surface, and manufacture goods in space, preparing for future human flights to Mars.Read More NASA Plans for Space Station Around the Moon
The Resource Prospector mission to the Moon has been cancelled by NASA. This rover would have been the first mining mission sent to another world. Scientists hoped to find vital materials for spaceflight beneath the lunar surface. Officials at the space agency cancelled the mission on April 27th.Read More NASA Cancels Resource Prospector Mission to the Moon
January 31,2018 will be a big morning for skygazers across the United States, as a lunar eclipse is coming, featuring a blue moon, blood moon, and supermoon.
Here’s how you can see this amazing astronomical event.