Jul 20, 2009 | 4
In a little more than an hour, the Eagle will have landed. And at 10:56 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time), Neil Armstrong will set foot on the moon. Both of these events took place 40 years ago, of course, but they will unfold again across the Web today, to the delight of those nostalgic for the first manned moon landing in 1969 and those too young to remember.
We Choose the Moon, a Web site presented by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, is perhaps the slickest of the Internet entities providing a virtual replay of the mission as it occurred 40 years ago, with audio, animations, and transcripts from the mission's communications. We Choose the Moon allows users to essentially hover above the Apollo 11 crew, watching their progress toward the lunar surface and eavesdropping on their exchanges with mission control.
Jun 9, 2009 | 6
As private enterprises set their sights on space, once the sole domain of the superpowers, questions are arising about who will protect historical sites and artifacts on the moon.
In an editorial last week for the Los Angeles Times, a pair of scholars from Louisiana State University (LSU) raise the point that well-meaning but inexperienced private entities targeting the moon could accidentally wreak havoc on the historic Apollo program landing sites, for instance. (Though less than 40 years old, those sites qualify as ancient in the brief history of space travel.)
Jill Thomas, an LSU grad student, and Justin St. P. Walsh, an art history and archaeology professor at the university, take aim at the Google Lunar X Prize, which offers a $20-million purse for the first privately funded team to land a robotic rover on the moon and use it to complete certain objectives. The prize's guidelines include a "Heritage Bonus Prize" of an unspecified amount for the first team whose rover photographs or videotapes a man-made artifact on the moon.
Jan 19, 2009 | 3
Tomorrow's inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., will offer space buffs a glimpse into the future: NASA's next-generation moon vehicle, the Lunar Electric Rover (LER), will roll down Pennsylvania Avenue to honor the incoming prez.
The LER is a 12-wheeled concept vehicle designed to accommodate two astronauts for extended periods of lunar exploration. (The U.S. is tentatively aiming for a 2020 return to the moon, but that timeline will depend on the direction Barack Obama chooses to take with NASA.) The rover's cabin, which is equipped with bedding and sanitary areas, can support journeys of up to 14 days, and it is pressurized to allow for the astronauts to work without spacesuits.
According to a NASA press release, the LER will capture video of the inaugural parade with an onboard camera, and a member of the rover team will be reporting live via Twitter. Let's hope those tweets don't get bogged down by the wireless "traffic jam" that's expected as millions flock to the capital to witness the beginning of the historic new presidential administration.
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