Tag Archive: Moon


3D printing continues to be one of the most promising technologies to deliver humanity its first permanent moon base. Cost and materials tend to be major stumbling blocks, but the use of 3D printers by London-based Foster + Partners addresses both hurdles.

You see, nearly the entire surface of the Moon is made up of a substance called regolith. And regolith, it turns out, is quite useable as a building material. It naturally provides protection against meteorites, gamma radiation and the Moon’s temperature fluctuations.

As an added bonus, regolith exists on Earth as well. This has given the Foster + Partners team the ability to test their 3D printers here before they just go shooting them off to the Moon. A 1.5-ton mockup of the facility has already been created, along with some small-scale tests within a vacuum chamber.

Here’s how the printing process goes down: a tubular capsule, housing the printer, lands on the moon. Then an inflatable dome extends from one end of the capsule, giving the moon base its basic shape. Next a robot wakes up — yeah, there’s a robot (pictured in our gallery below) — and begins to operate the 3D printer. The printer works regolith into a foam-like substance and prints the material evenly over the inflatable dome, creating a solid, protective shell. The result is a moon base capable of housing four people.

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Study: Moon may hold vast reservoir of water

The top layer of the moon’s surface may hold far more water than previously thought, according to a new study.

The newly released study has found that water was most likely formed on the surface of the Moon by the constant stream of charged particles ejected from the Sun. The finding “represents an unanticipated, abundant reservoir” of water on the moon, according to researchers from three U.S. universities, who formally reported their results Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“That means you’ve got a lot of water stuck around in this glass that we never even thought too much about before,” says Dr. Lawrence Taylor, a University of Tennessee geochemist who advised Apollo astronauts gathering lunar samples and served as a member of the research team.

University of Michigan’s Youxue Zhang and colleagues at the University of Tennessee, and California Institute of Technology, say the sun’s solar winds create water through chemical reactions. Solar winds, which slam the solar system endlessly and is responsible for the auroras seen on planetary poles, is rich in hydrogen ions. These ions may combine with oxygen molecules on the moon’s surface, creating water, according to researchers.

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The moon is known for its ability to impact on our tides, but it has been causing another effect over the last few years – disrupting experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

The gravitational effect of the moon may be generally weak on our surface, but with the collider stretching out in a ring with a 16mile (27km) circumference, the effects are enough to be felt.

The scientific research facility on the Swiss-French border is picking apart neutrons and electrons while hunting for the elusive Higgs Boson particle, and technician Pauline Gagnon, working on the collider, blogged her surprise when she realised the cause for less ‘particle collisions’ were happening on her shift.

Big enough to matter: The collider, formed of superconducting magnets, stretches around 17miles or 27km - and is sensitive to the moon's gravity

She wrote: ‘The shift crew (about ten people plus dozens of experts on call) must keep the detector running smoothly, tackling every problem, big or small, as fast as possible.

‘Data was coming in at a high rate and all sub-detectors were humming nicely. Not a glitch in hours so we were getting slightly sleepy nearing the end of the shift around 10pm.

‘So when a colleague from the trigger system  – the system that decides which events are worth keeping – called to inquire about recurrent splashes of data, I was rather puzzled.

‘I quickly went around, asking a few shifters to check their system. Nobody had a clue.

‘[We measure] how many collisions are happening per second in each experiment from the two beams of protons circulating in opposite direction in the LHC tunnel.’

A full moon disrupts the circle: An aerial view of the Swiss-French border, indicating the route of the Large Hadron Collider

But on the graphs detecting particle interactions, there were regular dips on both of the Hadron’s two main measuring systems.

Gagnon continued: ‘Since both were registering these dips, it had to be coming from a common source, the LHC.

‘So I called the LHC control room to find out what was happening. “Oh, those dips?”, casually answered the operator on shift. “That’s because the moon is nearly full and I periodically have to adjust the proton beam orbits.”

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The meaning of hypocrisy…

The moon rises behind Century Tower at the University of Florida as seen from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Saturday, March 19, 2011 in Gainesville, Fla. . The full moon is at its closest point to the Earth since March 1993. AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)

Anyone wishing to lasso the moon for their sweetheart will have no better opportunity than Saturday night, when Earth’s satellite provides a larger and closer target than normal.

The moon will be closer to the Earth than it will be at any other time of the year, a phenomenon known as a lunar perigee.

And coincidentally the moon will become full just two minutes after it reaches its closest point at 11:35 p.m. ET, creating a phenomenon known as a “supermoon.”

The confluence of proximity and fullness are expected to result in a rare opportunity for skywatchers and astronomers to view an especially big and bright moon.

The last supermoon occurred in March, 2011.

According to the Lunar Perigee and Apogee Calculator, a website linked to by NASA, the moon will be 356,953 kilometres from the Earth on Saturday night.

The moon will reach its apogee, or furthest distance from the Earth, 13 days later on May 19, when it will be positioned 406,450 kilometres away.

Then on Nov. 28, it will reach full moon status at its furthest distance from Earth — 406,364 kilometres. That will result in a much smaller and darker full moon than the one expected on Saturday.

According to Richard Nolle, the astrologer who coined the term supermoon, the phenomenon occurs any time the moon is full, and comes within 90 per cent of its closest approach to Earth within a given orbit.

“In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth,” Nolle explained in a blog.

According to Space.com, the Saturday full moon will rise around sunset and remain visible in the sky until sunrise — the only time in May when the moon hangs in the sky all night without being visible during daylight hours.

While the supermoon is not expected to have any extreme weather of geological effects, it is expected to result in especially high and low tides in the world’s oceans.

Source: CTV News

How friggin’ cool is this? The immigration form the Apollo 11 crew had to complete upon returning from the moon!

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A spacecraft orbiting the moon has captured the first video of the lunar far side that people on Earth can’t see. The video was captured by one of NASA’s twin Grail probes using MoonKAM, a camera which will eventually be used by students.

Ever since a study conducted back in 1993, it has been proposed that in order for a planet to support more complex life, it would be most advantageous for that planet to have a large moon orbiting it, much like the Earth’s moon. Our moon helps to stabilize the Earth’s rotational axis against perturbations caused by the gravitational influence of Jupiter. Without that stabilizing force, there would be huge climate fluctuations caused by the tilt of Earth’s axis swinging between about 0 and 85 degrees.

But now that belief is being called into question thanks to newer research, which may mean that the number of planets capable of supporting complex life could be even higher than previously thought.

Since planets with relatively large moons are thought to be fairly rare, that would mean most terrestrial-type planets like Earth would have either smaller moons or no moons at all, limiting their potential to support life. But if the new research results are right, the dependence on a large moon might not be as important after all. “There could be a lot more habitable worlds out there,” according to Jack Lissauer of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who leads the research team.

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