Moon shine

If you believe they put a man on the moon . . .. . . or even (especially?) if you don't, this one's for you.In 2008, NASA says it will send a "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter" into low orbit around the moon. While it's primary mission will be to scout for the next manned lunar mission (ostensibly planned for around 2020), it also will do something to defeat those wacky conspiracy theories about how and why the United Stats allegedly faked its moon missions.It's going to photograph what astronauts left on the moon, "providing the first recognizable images of Apollo relics since 1972," NASA says.landingsites_270b.gifThere are six landing sites scattered across the moon's surface, but even the Hubble telescope can't photograph them.Apparently, NASA says, the fact that they haven't been photographed since the Nixon administration adds fuel to the conspiracy theory fires.Overall, though, the LROC mission is not really about the past.

It will sample the Moon's radiation environment, search for patches of frozen water, make laser maps of lunar terrain and, using LROC, photograph the Moon's entire surface. By the time astronauts return, they'll know the best places to land and much of what awaits them.
Two key targets: the moon's poles. Why? Potential locations for moon bases, of course.-- posted by Dan Dupont

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