An update about the LCROSS mission
Published 11/10/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Last June, I mentioned the LCROSS mission which was aimed at impacting the surface of the Moon. 113 days after its journey, this event indeed happened on October 9 2009. At 04:31 UT the Centaur upper stage rocket  hit the surface, followed by LCROSS itself at 04:39 UT.  It was recorded by several telescopes located at Hawaii and in the US (where it was visible) and by another NASA spacecraft called Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in orbit around the moon. The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a mission specifically designed for active sensing through impact. The scientists hoped to reveal the... read more ❯

We really walked on the Moon...
Published 7/20/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, We all heard about this conspiration rumors which claimed that the Apollo missions were never a success and nobody ever walked on the Moon. Just be reassured, I am not going to advertise this crazy theory :-) It is based on deformed facts and today we have some obvious proofs collected  by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and its high resolution camera. Look at this picture released a few days ago: The arrow indicates the position of the Eagle, the lunar module of the Apollo 11 mission. And now this one: This image shows the landing  side of the Apollo 14. The lunar module (Antares)... read more ❯

Beginning of the Apollo 11 's Commemoration
Published 7/16/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, Forty years ago, the fifth human space flight called Apollo 11 was launched using a Saturn V from the Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts on board. Two of them (Neil Amstrong & Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin) became the first humans to walk on the Moon. NASA is initiating various events to commemorate this important anniversary. Neil Amstrong about to walk on the Moon. Watch the restored HD movie on the NASA website I was not born yet  so I cannot tell you where I was when the Mission Commander Neil Armstron put his feet on the moon surface at 02:56 UTC on... read more ❯

Uranium on the moon. Mining the moon?
Published 7/1/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I will briefly report today that Uranium, a very famous radioactive element was found on the surface of the moon thanks to the gamma-ray spectrometer on board the Japanese mission called Kayuga. I already described extensively the Kayuga mission,officially named SELENE ("Selenological and Engineering Explorer"), in my previous posts. The orbiter of this mission is equipped with a gamma-ray spectrometer which allows the identification of atoms which composed the surface of the moon. The principle is relatively simple: the surface of an airless body (moon, mars) is subjected to a continual bombardment of high-energy cosmic rays, which excite nuclei in it to emit... read more ❯

The end of Kayuga in HD!
Published 6/23/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
A brief update about my previous post into which I described the demise of the Kayuga mission. The crash on the lunar surface was indeed recorded by the High Definition TV and can be seen on the JAXA channel in youtube.<!--more--> click on the following image to start the movie and enjoy the ride... Unfortunately the last seconds before the impact are lost since the spacecraft entered in the dark side of the moon. Remember that it was planned to be able to detect the plume and determine by spectroscopy the composition of the interior of the moon. Franck M. [caption id="attachment_331" align="aligncenter"... read more ❯

Two new missions toward the moon in one rocket
Published 6/19/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Dear readers, Yesterday June 18 2009 at 21:17 GMT (2:17 PDT) an Atlas V rocket lifted off carrying two missions designed by NASA and dedicated to the exploration of the moon, our closest space neighbor. if you have read my previous posts on Kayuga, Chang’e-1 and Chandrayaan-1, you must be asking yourself why do we need new missions  to explore the moon? These ones are led by NASA which has already a lot of experience in mission designed for the solar... read more ❯

The demise of a mission - Kayuga crashed on the Moon
Published 6/12/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I am back from AAS in Pasadena, CA where I gave a talk on the use of Adaptive Optics to study Multiple Asteroid Systems. This is my last professional trip for the summer since I just hired 2 students to work with me until mid-Aug. Today I am writing a brief post about the demise of the Kayuga mission which was sent to crash on the moon surface. You may remember my previous post about the Kayuga mission, which is a lunar-dedicated mission developed by JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency. This mission was launched on September 14 2007  and aimed at... read more ❯