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Where am I now? Travelin' 1.18km/s(2646mph). 70,289km from the Moon. 19 hrs! RU Excited? I am! #lcross

On October 9th, NASA spacecraft will run into the moon, and on purpose. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and its rocket's Centaur upper stage will impact the moon, with the goal of sending some of the (possibly present) ice above the lunar surface. Once out of the eternal shade of the moon's south pole, sunlight will break the ice up into H+ and OH- molecules, which can be detected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The initial impact site was the crater Cabeus A, but the target was later changed to Cabeus (proper), selected for highest hydrogen concentrations with the greatest level of certainty, and for the high-contrast back drop to detect ejecta and vapor measurements. NASA has provided guides for amateur observations of the impact, a facebook group, and a Twitter feed so you don't miss the moment.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 8, 2009 - 53 comments

Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is.

Space is really big. A perspective on the Earth and Moon from the view of a pixel.
posted by loquacious on Aug 11, 2009 - 50 comments

Begone ye earthling creatures bold, there are no women here.

Disney's Man and the Moon (1 of 6). One-horned unigoats versus SCIENCE! featuring Werner von Braun who, to the nose adds a small atomic reactor in preparation for [cue dramatic music] a trip around the moon. [via]
posted by tellurian on Aug 8, 2009 - 11 comments

Apollo 11 Source Code

The Apollo 11 Command Module code (Comanche054) and Lunar Module code (Luminary099) have been open sourced.
posted by chunking express on Jul 21, 2009 - 47 comments

The Lunar Orbiter's Kodak moment

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned its first images of the Apollo moon landing sites. The spacecraft’s onboard camera photographed Lunar Module descent stages at five of the six Apollo sites—11, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The Apollo 12 site will be photographed in coming weeks. [more inside]
posted by prinado on Jul 17, 2009 - 38 comments

Land, Eagle, Land

We Chose the Moon: The JFK Library and Museum has just launched this interactive web experience using archival audio, video, photos, and recorded transmissions to re-create, in real time, the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
posted by Miko on Jul 13, 2009 - 43 comments

Happy 40th anniversary, mankind.

Moon Landing Tapes Found! [more inside]
posted by sexyrobot on Jul 2, 2009 - 93 comments

Lunar Leftovers.

How the Moon Became a Trash Can. [more inside]
posted by gman on May 14, 2009 - 65 comments

Cassini. Camera. Saturn.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft went to Saturn and all it got were these awesome pictures.
posted by Saturn XXIII on Apr 21, 2009 - 70 comments

Do we really want that Moon base?

An election of a new President brings forth new ideas on the Vision for Space Exploration. The Planetary Society is lobbying to remove the Moon from the equation, which prompted Apollo astronaut, ex-senator, and geologist Harrison Schmitt to resign from the board in protest. Meanwhile moon-free plans proliferate. What will Obama do? Interesting hints are given in a position paper written by people associated with his transition team. [more inside]
posted by spaceviking on Nov 18, 2008 - 70 comments

The Whole Earth Photolog

From grainy stills to gorgeous high-resolution portraits, from intimate pairings to stark contrasts, and from old standbys to little-known surprises, The Planetary Society's Earth galleries offer a rich collection of stunning photography and video footage of our world as seen from both planetary spacecraft and geostationary satellites. It is a vista that has inspired many a deep thought in the lucky few that have seen it firsthand [previously]. Oh, and the rest of the Solar System is pretty neat, too.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 3, 2008 - 9 comments

Unseen photos of lunar surface

In honor of this morning's impressive lunar eclipse, another moon-photo post: For decades you had to be a scholar or specialist to get access to the original Apollo flight films, most of which have been stored in freezers at Houston's Johnson Space Center. Now Arizona State University and NASA are scanning the negatives with high-resolution equipment and creating an online digital archive of downloadable images for the general public. Here are the first few, from Apollo 15. (Similar topics previously: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
posted by GrammarMoses on Aug 28, 2007 - 9 comments

"The sun descending in the west, The evening star does shine;"

Have you ever wondered what a solar eclipse would look like from space? The STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) has just sent back its view (awe-inspiring video included). It has also sent back some gorgeous pictures of our sun (and the McNaught Comet). For more media, check out the other galleries (including some 3D images). For more about the project, see NASA's STEREO homepage. Be sure to also stop by the Johns Hopkins University STEREO Page, where you can download a mission guide (pdf), view animations, watch a video of the launch, or even make your own papercraft STEREO model (pdf). You can also learn more in six minute segments with their series of short educational videos.
posted by wander on Mar 13, 2007 - 15 comments

The original Neil Armstrong tape

If you thought the video of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon was rather blurry, it might interest you to know that this was never broadcast as well as it could have been. The original video quality was much better. You can't view the original video today, because NASA has lost the bleepin tape. Nobody seems to care, but the guys who once made the transmission possible are looking for it. An Australian minister is on their side. If the tape hasn't been accidentally degaussed, there's only one machine left that is able to read it.
posted by Termite on Jan 11, 2007 - 19 comments

Moonbase: Alpha

NASA Plans Permanent Moonbase. The base, a potential stepping stone for further Mars exploration, will likely be situated near one of the poles. The advantages of a polar site (pdf) include a relatively moderate climate, possible hydrogen and oxygen resources, unexplored terrain and abundant solar power. They have apparently abandoned plans to use nuclear reactors, which is probably for the best.
posted by justkevin on Dec 4, 2006 - 137 comments

Hoop Around the Moon

A hoop, to draw the Earth's shadow: illustrating yesterday's partial lunar eclipse with a hoop and some creative camera positioning. Start here and work your way towards the painter. Via Spaceweather. More photos of the eclipse on Flickr.
posted by brownpau on Sep 8, 2006 - 4 comments

Apollo Panoramic Images

Apollo Panoramic Images [note: Quicktime VR]
posted by crunchland on Jul 16, 2006 - 14 comments

Happy Landings, SMART-1

Crash. Tiny SMART-1, ESA's first lunar probe (also a compact spacecraft technology test bed), has been in lunar orbit since November 2004. Following the success of its primary and secondary missions, ESA now plans to crash SMART-1 into the moon, with a hard landing on the near side which may be visible from Earth. More stuff on ESA's little lunar trooper: SMART-1 lunar imagery, SMART-1 NASA Master Catalog entry, Planetary Society's SMART-1 category, and SMART-1 on Wikipedia.
posted by brownpau on Apr 24, 2006 - 4 comments

Enceladus.

There's water on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Here's hoping space tourism can pick up the pace a little.
posted by jrb223 on Mar 9, 2006 - 123 comments

we came in peace

Moonbase Visions. You've read about and discussed NASA's plan to use new post-shuttle launch vehicles to return to the moon. But what, exactly, is the US planning to do on the moon? What would a semi-permanent moonbase look like? And why return at all? NASA's announced answers to these questions remain vague. But last year eleven sets of responses to these questions were offered to NASA in the development proposals submitted to NASA by eleven Aerospace concerns, each of which suggested different designs, missions, and philosophies for NASA's return to the moon. Some common themes:
Military: "Provide nationally assured access to orbital locations for the placement of observation systems" and "assured access to space for development of force projection systems and movements of logistics." (pdf link, p. 5) Commercial: "Commercialize space products and services" (pdf link, p.6) Public Relations: Keeping the public inspired with "regularly placed program milestones." (pdf link, p.7)
It's interesting to compare the details of these proposals. But taken together, they raise a broader question: does NASA's fear that the public will lose interest in this commercializing, militarizing, moon venture reflect an awareness that that the vision has finally been lost?
posted by washburn on Sep 22, 2005 - 62 comments

NASA soundtracks

Ignition sequence starts ... A spoken word documentary album of the flight of Apollo 11 to the moon. Dramatic - evocative - the right stuff. Provided by Hepcat Willy.
posted by carter on Sep 13, 2005 - 9 comments

Fate has ordained...

Now that Discovery is home safe and well, let's take a moment to remember some anxious moments 36 years ago, when President Nixon had a contingency memo prepared to read in case that Neil Armstrong et al. were somehow unable to return to Earth. The forgotten memo, written by William Saffire, is from the National Archives.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 9, 2005 - 18 comments

A New Kind of Solar Storm

Going to the moon? Be careful. A new kind of solar storm can take you by surprise. Biggest proton storm since 1956 - before there were satellites monitoring the sun.
posted by Cranberry on Jun 10, 2005 - 11 comments

Odd Spot on Titan Baffles Scientists

Unidentified Titan Object Saturn's moon Titan shows an unusual bright spot that has scientists mystified. The spot, approximately the size and shape of West Virginia, is just southeast of the bright region called Xanadu and is visible to multiple instruments on the Cassini spacecraft.
posted by Diamornte on May 25, 2005 - 32 comments

Who can invent for us a cartography of autonomy, who can draw a map that includes our desires? - Hakim Bey

Cartography is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't always so. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.

How things have changed. (Yours now, $110) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets and one moon (with a second in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that. We're actually running out of things to map.

Maybe Not.
posted by absalom on Jan 27, 2005 - 17 comments

Mysteries of Titan

Saturn's enigmatic moon Titan holds on to its mysteries. Radar images reveal quite a bit of variation but no clear interpretation. The hazy atmosphere prevents the sudden shock of discovery that characterized the Voyager and Galileo flybys of the moons of Jupiter, revealing little more than fuzzy Rorschach blobs. With less than 1% of the surface mapped, researchers suspect that Titan has a young surface shaped by processes that have yet to be revealed.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 5, 2004 - 5 comments

Death Star Found

NASA's Cassini has found the Death Star.
posted by MrAnonymous on Jul 27, 2004 - 34 comments

Apollo 11 (+35)

Today, it is 35 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. For detailed records of the events of that day, read the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal. You can also take a look at the National Air and Space Museum's Apollo collection, or view photos from The Apollo Archive Image Gallery. Today, Neil Armstrong (who had meant to say "one small step for a man") leads a mostly private yet busy life, while Buzz Aldrin maintains a somewhat more public profile. Michael Collins, the much lesser-known astronaut who stayed in lunar orbit that day, went on to become Director of the National Air and Space Museum. As for those of you who still think the moon landing was faked, give it another think. Happy 35th Moon Shot Day! (Can you believe it?! The f-ing moon!!)
posted by brownpau on Jul 16, 2004 - 25 comments

Reinventing NASA

To the moon, Alice! (And then, on to Mars) Time will tell whether this declaration will lead to an actual rebirth of NASA and realignment of goals for the agency. But I for one am absolutely thrilled that Bush is planning to give NASA a long-overdue new mission and goal. Avoiding the obvious pro/con debate of doing this (or the cost), I think it's absolutely vital to the national psyche for the United States to have a long-range goal that it can focus positive energy upon. This could be the first real "Challenge to the Union" that I think should become an annual event to replace the State of the Union.
posted by tgrundke on Jan 9, 2004 - 84 comments

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2003 - 13 comments

NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy

NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy After decades of almost ignoring claims that the Apollo missions were hoaxed, NASA commissioned aerospace writer James Olberg to write an official rebuttle. Perhaps a bit more reasonable than the NASA Stooge, the book is aimed at the general public.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 7, 2002 - 33 comments

Earth has a third satellite?

Earth has a third satellite? Somehow I missed that a second one, Cruithne, was discovered in 1986. Is there a size or distance limit to something being considered a satellite?
posted by onhazier on Sep 11, 2002 - 31 comments

Chinese planning on going to the moon.

Chinese planning on going to the moon. I know some would like to see the US return the moon. Some think it was all staged in a big hoax, but could a joint US/Chinese mission be possible by say 2010? What companies in China are working to make this possible? Would having Russia next door make the program any better? Personally, I'm glad to see someone will be returning to the moon.
posted by brent on Nov 23, 2001 - 24 comments

Lunatic

Lunatic : A hotel and resort destination on the Moon. Check out the Interior Design. You will be able to skydive inside the tower!!

Do you think civilian flights to space will start by 2010 ? I sure hope so. I can't wait to see this planet from the outside with my own eyes.
posted by sikander on Jul 12, 2001 - 7 comments

Go to the Moon Museum, install the Moon Browser, and go to the Moon.
posted by dfowler on May 14, 2001 - 0 comments

Buy 1777.58 acres of the Moon

Buy 1777.58 acres of the Moon "Probably the most romantic and original present you could ever give to a loved one." My ass!! You too can claim ownership to planets/stars throughout the universe and sell them over eBay....
posted by grank on Dec 17, 2000 - 8 comments

Get a piece of the Rock.

Get a piece of the Rock. Moon that is. I say boy, you got to think of the future. Just remember all these worlds are yours except Europa.
posted by john on Nov 20, 2000 - 6 comments

This reminded me of one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.

This reminded me of one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. Once on vacation in Eastern Oregon, there was a total eclipse of the moon, just like this one. And some people nearby were taking photographs of it. Flash photographs. The round-trip time to the moon at the speed of light is 3 seconds and I wouldn't even want to calculate the attenuation caused by 320,000 miles of range. Sometimes it seems as if some people are completely and totally clueless about what they're doing.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jul 25, 2000 - 12 comments

Moon Land Registry!

Moon Land Registry! Is this a scam or what? Prices on the upper east side too high for you? Get an out-of this-world deal here.
posted by fbeach on Feb 28, 2000 - 6 comments

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