Related topics: nasa · earth · spacecraft · saturn · cassini spacecraft

NASA chooses SpaceX to take humans back to Moon

NASA has selected SpaceX to land the first astronauts on the surface of the Moon since 1972, the agency said Friday, in a huge victory for Elon Musk's company.

UAE to send rover to the Moon in 2022

Lunar exploration firm iSpace said Wednesday it will transport a United Arab Emirates unmanned rover to the Moon next year, as the Gulf state seeks to expand its space sector.

Scientists successfully breed corals in the lab

Scientists at the University of Oldenburg's Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) have scored a success: in the aquariums at the ICBM's Wilhelmshaven site they were able to induce sexual reproduction ...

Image: Engine of Atlantis

The second European Service Module that will power the Orion spacecraft on a crewed flyby of the moon is fitted with a special engine at Airbus facilities in Germany.

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The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite and the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. The average centre-to-centre distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,403 km, about thirty times the diameter of the Earth. The common centre of mass of the system (the barycentre) is located about 1,700 km—a quarter the Earth's radius—beneath the surface of the Earth. The Moon makes a complete orbit around the Earth every 27.3 days (the orbital period), and the periodic variations in the geometry of the Earth–Moon–Sun system are responsible for the phases of the moon, which repeat every 29.5 days (the synodic period).

The Moon's diameter is 3,474 km, a little more than a quarter of that of the Earth. Thus, the Moon's surface area is less than a tenth that of the Earth (about a quarter the Earth's land area, approximately as large as Russia, Canada, and the United States combined), and its volume is about 2 percent that of Earth. The pull of gravity at its surface is about 17 percent of that at the Earth's surface.

The Moon is the only celestial body to which humans have traveled and upon which humans have performed a manned landing. While the Soviet Union's Luna program was the first to reach the Moon with unmanned spacecraft, the NASA Apollo program by the United States achieved the only manned missions to date, beginning with the first manned lunar mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six manned lunar landings between 1969 and 1972- the first being Apollo 11 in 1969. Human exploration of the Moon temporarily ceased with the conclusion of the Apollo program, although a few robotic landers and orbiters have been sent to the Moon since that time. The U.S. has committed to return to the moon by 2018.

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