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NASA sees 'gateway' for space missions
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Sep 24, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

NASA has proposed a candidate for its next major mission, a "gateway" spacecraft on the far side of the moon as a staging base for moon and Mars missions.

The spacecraft would hover in orbit on the far side of the moon, support a small permanent crew and function as "stepping stone" for missions to the lunar surface and possible flights to Mars.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden briefed the White House earlier this month on details of the proposed "gateway," but it was unclear if any administration support for the mission was forthcoming, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The NASA outpost, which would probably utilize parts left over from the $100-billion International Space Station, would be located at a point known as the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2, a spot about 38,000 miles from the moon where the combined gravities of the Earth and moon are equal in strength, allowing an outpost to "stick" at that point with very little power needed to keep it in place.

The giant rocket and space capsule NASA is developing as a replacement for the retired space shuttles, scheduled for a first flight in 2017, would be the vehicle for delivering the "gateway" spacecraft, space agency documents show.

The price tag -- about which NASA has said nothing -- could be a stumbling block, as it's unlikely NASA in coming years will get any more than its current budget of $17.7 billion and could, in fact, face further cuts in the name of deficit reduction, the Times said.

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NASA creating 3-D moon images
Greenbelt, Md. (UPI) Sep 25, 2012 - NASA says its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is acquiring stereo images of the moon in high resolution to provide 3-D views of the surface.

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University is developing a processing system to automatically generate anaglyphs -- images that can be viewed in 3-D using red/blue-green glasses -- from most of these stereo pairs, the space agency reported Tuesday.

The anaglyphs will give better understanding of the topography of the lunar surface by making lunar features such as craters, volcanic flows, lava tubes and tectonic features jump out in 3-D, NASA said.

The stereo images are created by the orbiter's Narrow Angle Camera targeting a location on the ground and taking an image from one angle on one orbit, and from a different angle on a subsequent orbit.

Detailed images of the moon's surface in 3-D will be available to the general public through Arizona State University's website at http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/ and a NASA website at www.nasa.gov/lro as they become available, NASA said.


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Protection for Moon, Mars astronauts eyed
Darmstadt, Germany (UPI) Sep 18, 2012
Rocks on the Moon or Mars could be used to build shelters to possibly protect astronauts from dangerous cosmic radiation, European researchers say. German scientists working with the European Space Agency have tested how well stone slabs can protect against radiation, a release from the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research said Monday. The findings are important because as ... read more

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