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June 16, 2014 - Return to the Moon

Return to the Moon Five years ago this week a pair of spacecraft marked NASA’s first missions to the Moon in a decade. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) searched for water ice that might exist in permanently shadowed lunar craters. LCROSS did detect water in the crater Cabeus. Launched at the same time was the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has spent the last five years mapping the Moon in unprecedented detail. In addition to photographs of equipment left behind at the Apollo landing sites, LRO returned stunning images such as this one of the central peak of the Copernicus crater. About 1 km (3,000 ft) high, the peak casts a long shadow to the west over the crater floor. Boulders that have rolled down can be seen piled up at the base of some of the slopes.

Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

Weekly Calendar

June 16-22, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 16

1963: Vostok 6 launched; Valentina Tereshkova first woman in space, still the only solo spaceflight by a woman
2012: Shenzhou 9 launched, fourth Chinese human space flight

Moon phase Tuesday 17

1985: STS-51G Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 18

Neptune 5° south of Moon

1799: William Lassell born
1983: STS-7 Challenger launched; Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space
2009: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) launched

Moon phase Thursday 19

Last Qtr Moon 2:39 PM ET
Mercury in inferior conjunction

1999: QuikSCAT launched

Moon phase Friday 20

Uranus 1.6° south of Moon

1985: NASA announces cola wars will take place on shuttle mission STS-51F
1996: STS-78 Columbia launched

Moon phase Saturday 21

Solstice 6:51 AM ET
Jupiter 6° south of Pollux

1993: STS-57 Endeavour launched
2004: SpaceShipOne launched, first privately-funded human space flight

Moon phase Sunday 22

1675: Royal Greenwich Observatory founded
1973: 28-day Skylab 2 mission ends
2000: NASA announces evidence of present-day liquid water on Mars

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