The connection of the Orion spacecraft’s two main elements is a major milestone as engineers ready the vehicle for an unpiloted test flight to lunar orbit and back to Earth, a precursor to a follow-on mission that will carry astronauts back to the vicinity of the moon for the first time since 1972.
An epic lunar laser experiment is still going strong, five decades after the Apollo astronauts set it up on the surface. The moonwalking crew of Apollo 11, which landed on the moon 50 years ago this month, put special retroreflectors on the lunar surface, as did the later crews of Apollo 14 and 15, in 1971.
A half-century after landing the first humans on the Moon, NASA is looking to put people back on the lunar surface, but this time the agency has an even more ambitious deadline to meet. The goal is to send humans back to the Moon by 2024, a mere five years from now. NASA has a whole lot more hardware to develop this time -- which leaves many wondering if such an extremely ambitious lunar return can be done.
A half century ago, America's dreams were realized in space. The power of U.S. innovation and spirit brought the Apollo 11 crew to the moon and back. That mission was possible due to a diverse team of engineers, astronauts and mathematicians. It was also possible thanks to the help of one 10-year-old boy who was in the right place at the right time.
Fifty years ago, NASA's Apollo 11 mission carried the first geologic samples from the moon back to Earth -- and agency has finally released footage of researchers examining those lunar samples for signs of life.
Before humanity first set foot on the lunar surface, the moon was an elusive rock in our night sky. Scientists weren't sure how it formed or what it was made of, and there was even a common misconception that the moon's surface would be fluffy. "There was real concern that our lunar landers would sink into the surface because the material was so fluffy...
Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin called out a lack of innovation in the aerospace industry during his speech at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Wednesday night, "that is not very good for 50 years of development," said Aldrin. Aldrin said we as a civilization have not lived up to the famous words of Neal Armstrong when he set foot on the moon. He said he has been waiting for the next giant leap for man kind for 50 years.
In an attempt to provide insight into the final moments of the incredible mission, NASA has used imagery captured by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create a simulation of what Armstrong saw. Orbiter images have also been used to recreate Aldrin’s view from the other side of the Lunar Module.
Around 94% of Americans with TVs tuned in on July 20, 1969, to see Apollo 11 touch down. Three years later, Apollo 17 sent Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt to the moon, making them the last humans to exit low Earth orbit. This, and NASA's dismantling of the space shuttle program in 2011, has created a "public misconception," Hadfield says, that NASA and the West have slowed down in space.
This year, unlike in the two previous years, the polling group found that a slight majority would approve of such a funding appropriation, with 53% of the respondents in favor, 46% opposed and 1% without an opinion in a poll with a sampling error of +/-4%.