U.S. engineers are testing the components of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to make sure it is ready for its mission to the moon.
The LRO will spend at least a year mapping the surface of the moon. Data from the orbiter will be used to help NASA select safe landing sites for astronauts, identify lunar resources and study how the moon's environment will affect humans, the agency said Friday in a release.
The spacecraft will ship from Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in August in preparation for launch. The orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket in late 2008, NASA said.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International
Explore further: Cassini spacecraft reveals clues about Saturn moon