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LRO Image of the Week #2: Eagle Has Landed May 7, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in : Apollo, hoax theories, LRO Image of the Week, Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter , add a comment

This week’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Image of the Week is perhaps the Orbiter’s most famous (already): it is an image of the Apollo 11 lunar lander (Eagle) on the surface of the moon!

This image (and others of Apollo landing sites) is a nail in the coffin of the various Apollo hoax theories still floating around out there. As long as these images (and the entire LRO mission) are not themselves hoaxes ( ;) ), this snapshot of the Eagle’s final lunar aerie serves as clear proof that we did, in fact, actually land people up there.

The module is tiny amongst the Sea—located by the long shadow it casts in the early dawn light (center of image).

For more on those long lunar shadows, check out my first LRO Image of the Week; and, be sure to check back next week for #3 :)

Orbiting Atlas #4: Mare Tranquillitatis (The Sea of Tranquility) January 4, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in : Apollo, hoax theories, Orbiting Atlas , 2comments

Orbiting Atlas is a weekly series here  at Luna C/I looking at notable points inselenography—the geography of the Moon. Come by every Monday for an exploration of a different locale, and its potential regional signifigance :)

Today, we take a look at the finer details of the most historic location on the Moon:

Mare Tranquillitatis— The Sea of Tranquility

Located in the central-southeast of the near side of the Moon (see above), the flat Mare is, of course, the landing site of Apollo 11 (in the southwest corner; see below); but beyond that, the Mare has developed even more significance.

The tiny Apollo 11 landing site is only a small mark on the ~170,000-square-mile expanse, which is about the size of Iraq or the U.S. state of California. This helps cut off a potential conundrum: as it turns out, Mare Tranquillitatis could be one of the richest areas in all-important helium-3 on the Moon. But, considering that size, there should be plenty of room for both regolith harvesting efforts and any historical conservation. (And, by the way: the site has recently been photographed in high definition, so unless the images and orbiter that took them are also a hoax, Apollo was not a hoax :) ).

A leading Google Lunar X PRIZE team, Astrobotic, plans to explore the landing site in May 2011 with their rover.

The Mare, selenographically, has some interesting features—notably, Rupes/Dorsa (cliffs/ridges) and Rimae (fissures), but otherwise is a giant, flat plain…covered with valuable resources. Get those grazing herds of helium-3 harvesters ready! :)

Below is an HDTV video by Japan’s Kaguya orbiter, showing the Mare and the area of the Apollo 11 landing site:

Magnetic Attraction July 22, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in : Constellation, Helium-3, hoax theories, Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, radiation, Vision for Space Exploration , add a comment

One concern that gets voiced about lunar colonization is the levels of radiation colonists could be exposed to, and how much of a threat that is (and whether there is sufficient methods of protection against it).

“We really need to know more about the radiation environment on the Moon, especially if people will be staying there for more than just a few days.”
Harlan Spence, astronomy professor at Boston University

Mapping out and investigating the levels of radiation is one the central goals of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, the first tentpole mission of the landmark Vision for Space Exploration/Constellation era.

Various remedies and shields have been suggested, including isolated magnetic fields (like Reiner Gamma, pictured above; these are speculated to be a result of crater- and other ejecta), spherical man-made shields (pictured below), and even the Earth itself.

I personally trust in human ingenuity to come up with something, and the lack of effects on the Apollo astronauts seems promising (though many seem to think that indicates the whole Apollo landing was actually a hoax). At the very least, the commercial motivation for a company to come up with something that could enable colonization (and therefore utilization of groundbreaking resources) could eventually (or very quickly) become too strong to be ignored.

To cap, here’s a segment on the subject from a NASA video (Destination Tomorrow), courtesy of Youtube: