Saturday, August 13, 2011

LRO sweeps down for a closer look at Apollo sites

Sometime in August the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will complete its 10,000th orbit around the Moon, more than two years after its arrival in lunar orbit. That's no small feat. The Moon is notorious for its intrinsic hostility both to spacecraft and the stability of their orbits. Along with the noted accomplishment of having already delivered back to Earth far more data than all the deep space probes since the dawn of the Space Age combined, LRO has also survived in lunar orbit longer than every previous lunar mission.

If LRO proves to be the only legacy of the short-lived effort to renew manned Deep Space exploration through in situ resource utilization (ISRU), AKA, "Constellation," or the "Vision for Space Exploration" begun in 2004, this single project will have been worth all the federal funds spent on all aspects of that program.

Now LRO has been ordered to lower the perigee of its orbit to take an even closer look at the Apollo landing sites its cameras were the first to survey in detail.

Nancy Atkinson of Universe Today has the story, HERE.

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