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July 8, 2013 - Icy Endurance

Icy Endurance Shackleton Crater, at the Moon’s south pole, is named for the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led his ill-fated Endurance expedition through one of the most harrowing journeys in polar exploration history. The crater has much in common with Earth’s south pole: darkness, cold, and, it turns out, ice. When researchers used the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s laser altimeter to examine the floor of Shackleton crater, they found it to be brighter than the floors of other nearby polar craters, which is consistent with the presence of small amounts of reflective ice preserved by cold and darkness. The team even found signs of ice on the walls of the crater, which, unlike the crater floor, are sometimes exposed to sunlight. Colored elevation data is superimposed on the surface image above.

Image credit: NASA / Zuber, M.T. et al., Nature, 2012

Weekly Calendar

July 8-14, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 8

New Moon 3:14 AM ET

1994: STS-65 Columbia launched
2009: First flight test of Max Launch Abort System
2011: STS-135 Atlantis launched, final shuttle mission

Moon phase Tuesday 9

Saturn appears stationary
Mercury in inferior conjunction

1945: White Sands Missile Range opens
1979: Voyager 2 flies past Jupiter

Moon phase Wednesday 10

Venus 7° north of Moon

1962: Telstar 1 launched, allowing transatlantic transmission of TV signals
1992: Giotto spacecraft flies past comet Grigg-Skjellerup

Moon phase Thursday 11

1962: NASA selects lunar orbit rendezvous method for lunar landings
1969: X-24A lifting body rolled out for first time
1979: Skylab reenters atmosphere

Moon phase Friday 12

1966: First glide test of M2-F2 lifting body
2000: Zvezda Service Module launched to ISS
2001: STS-104 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Saturday 13

1995: STS-70 Discovery launched

Moon phase Sunday 14

1965: Mariner 4 completes first successful flyby of Mars
1967: Surveyor 4 launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.