Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Moon News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Moon Race Motives Part One

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Yury Zaitsev
Moscow (UPI) Dec 6, 2007
The Moon theme will continue to dominate in 2008, because space powers now regard it as a priority. The United States, India and Japan will send probes to the Moon.

After the Soviet Union and the United States completed their 1960-1970 lunar programs, few flights have been made to the Earth's satellite: these were U.S. craft Clementine (1994) and Lunar Prospector (1998-1999), with Europe's SMART 1 in the new millennium. While, Japan's Kaguya probe and China's Chang'e I have recently reached Lunar orbit.

Russia and India have recently signed an agreement on jointly developing and delivering a research craft to the Moon. India will contribute a GSLV launch vehicle and a spacecraft for interplanetary travel and studies of the Moon from orbit. Russia will build a landing module, a lunar rover, and a set of scientific instruments.

Practically all leading space powers are planning lunar programs of one sort or another, citing the need to develop lunar resources and establish extra-terrestrial bases for manned interplanetary missions.

The Moon is also attractive to fundamental science. It is still not known whether it was formed from a proto-planetary cloud together with our planet, or was shaped from fragments of a large asteroid as it collided with a young Earth.

Encrypted in the age and dimensions of the Moon's surface craters is a record of the history of the solar system.

One of the most intriguing riddles of contemporary Moon exploration is the presence or absence in the polar regions of so-called "cold traps" -- craters whose bottoms are always shaded from the Sun.

The Moon is known to have experienced many collisions with comets. Their evaporation would produce a short-lived atmosphere of water vapor, which would then condense and settle at the bottom of such "cold traps."

If there were many such collisions (the history of the solar system is known to have had periods of high cometary activity), then large amounts of water ice could have accumulated over millions of years.

It is the search for water on the Moon that will be central to all the world's next space missions.

One will be in October 2008 when the United States will launch the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Its scientific payload includes the Russian-made neutron telescope LEND (Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector).

The new device is a modified version of the Russian detector that is installed on the American Odyssey orbiter and has been looking for water on Mars for the past five years. LEND will look for water on the Moon.

(Yury Zaitsev is an expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Space Research. This article is reprinted by permission of the RIA Novosti news agency. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.)

Source: RIA Novosti

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Mars News and Information at
Lunar Dreams and more

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Man in the Moon is four billion years old
Paris (AFP) Dec 5, 2007
The plains of solidified lava that give the Moon its quirky human-like face as seen from Earth were created more than four billion years ago, according to a paper appearing on Thursday in Nature, the British science weekly.

  • Quails for lunch aboard Atlantis
  • Richard Branson Trains For Virgin Galactic Spaceflight At The NASTAR Center
  • MU Engineers Develop Software Solution For Complex Space Missions
  • Star Talk

  • NASA Study Reveals Less Water In Clouds Of Mars
  • Multi-Tasking Rover Supports Multiple Missions
  • Spirit Breaks Free In Race For Survival
  • Noctis Labyrinthus, Labyrinth Of The Night

  • Nuclear Power In Space - Part 2
  • Nuclear Power In Space
  • Outside View: Nuclear future in space
  • Could NASA Get To Pluto Faster? Space Expert Says Yes - By Thinking Nuclear

  • First Ground-Based Detection Of Extra-Solar Planet Atmsosphere Using Hobby-Eberly Telescope
  • When Do Gas Giants Reach The Point Of No Return
  • Keep Track Of New Worlds: PlanetQuest 2.0
  • Youthful Star Sprouts Planets Early

  • Technique Controls Nanoparticle Size, Creates Large Numbers
  • Nanotech's Health, Environment Impacts Worry Scientists
  • On nanotechnology, experts see more risks than public
  • Nanotech's Health, Environment Impacts Worry Scientists

  • Spaceflight Shown To Alter Ability Of Bacteria To Cause Disease
  • Cardiovascular System Gets Lazy In Space
  • Creating The Ultimate Artificial Arm
  • A Rocket-Powered Prosthetic Arm

  • ATK Receives Contract And Delivers 100th Orion Solid Rocket Motor
  • Arianespace warns US over Chinese space 'dumping'
  • Sea Launch Reschedules The Thuraya-3 Launch Campaign
  • Sea Launch Reschedules The Thuraya-3 Launch Campaign

  • Aerojet Develops Innovative Reaction Control Engine Technology
  • ESA Conducts Vega Main Engine Test In Kourou
  • New Thermal Protection Technologies For Reusable Launch Vehicles To Be Validated
  • Defense Focus: Engineer truths -- Part 1

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement