Nasa returning to the moon

2011-09-06 07:24

Cape Canaveral - Nasa is returning to the moon four decades after landing men there.

A set of robotic twins will measure lunar gravity while chasing one another in circles around the moon. The two spacecraft are each about the size of a washing machine and will be launched together.

They are due to blast off on Thursday aboard an unmanned rocket and will separate an hour into the flight. After travelling independently to the moon, they will circle the planet for three months.

By creating the most precise lunar gravity map ever, Nasa scientists hope to figure out what's beneath the lunar surface, all the way to the core.

Since the Space Age began in 1957, 109 missions have targeted the moon and 12 men have walked its surface during six landings.

  • SA Sucks - 2011-09-06 07:37

    Please involve the AC. They are "moontus"

      Antionette - 2011-09-06 08:07


      mba - 2011-09-06 13:28

      Ace, I would love to F*ck off out of this sh1thole, but due to my status as currently disadvantaged I can't. So should I rather sit back and continue to believe that all is OK when it is not? Or do I make myself as vocal as possible to highlight what you clearly cannot see. SA is in a complete mess and by sticking our heads in the sand, we are making it worse.

      Ace - 2011-09-06 14:58

      mba, I'm a white afrikaans South African who hates crime, but am willing to be part of a change process. I will make my human right count where needed. Now as for yourself and @SA Sucks, stop feeling sorry for yourselfs.

  • Ace - 2011-09-06 07:53

    This is awesome news and I'm really excited to see what the 2 spacecraft discover. I own property on the moon and have never seen it in HD. All the best NASA.

      Brian - 2011-09-06 09:43

      WOW! Ace I think you need to re-read the article.

      Ace - 2011-09-06 12:17

      No Brian, this means after this project they will know what the risks are of sending a HD lunar mapping orbiter. You don't understand what the future holds and therefore you live for today only.

  • The Odd One Too - 2011-09-06 07:57

    They's probly lookin' fer ohl.

  • Talesa - 2011-09-06 07:57

    "they will circle the planet for three months.". - the moon is not a planet. It is a moon. Grade 5 geography.

      John Fox - 2011-09-06 08:45

      Actually Talesa the moon is a "satellite" orbiting Earth to be precise. Earth is a planet, the moon is not.

      Suckerz - 2011-09-06 09:53

      Erm... Geography? U mean ASTRONOMY? Well, we are getting used to "well written articles" here so ja...

      Anticar - 2011-09-06 11:19

      @ Suckerz - They do not teach astronomy in Grade 5. They teach geography and astronomy is dealt with in geography. @ John Fox - Dude you seem to be confuzled. The satellites will circle the moon, not the earth. Circling the moon does not make it a planet. Trust me.

      Adriaan - 2011-09-06 11:51

      Well, if you want to be technical, the moon orbits the earth, therefore the robots will orbit the planet which is earth for three months ..... not so?

      Talesa - 2011-09-06 12:10

      I actually don't care if the moon is a satellite, a piece of cheese, or a giant shiny booger. Point is, the writer of the article used a badly constructed sentence, which could ( and has ) caused confusion. That is all.

      dogue - 2011-09-06 12:16

      I think that a moon (a natural satellite, as opposed to artificial satellites) is also a planet. It's a planet that orbits another planet so it's a moon (satellite).

      grimbie1 - 2011-09-06 12:32

      hahaa look at you all. Define: planet. What are the criteria to classify a planet?

      dogue - 2011-09-06 16:05

      It appears that the Moon shouldn't be called a planet, as per 2006 definition:

  • GM - 2011-09-06 08:00

    42 years since the reported first lunar landing and now they are sending unmanned robots to mesure lunar gravity!! This just goes to prove that man never landed on the moon. It was all a conspiracy!!

      John Fox - 2011-09-06 08:54

      GM : I think you are incorrect. US astronauts did land on the moon on several occasions. When one of the missions left a microwave beacon on the moon our group of radio astronomers in the UK where able to pick up the signal. Also one of the US astronauts took a golf club and ball with him and I can remember seeing the results when he hit the ball, it went for kilometers, how did they fake this for the viewers? The rock sample brought back were unlike anything found on Earth, how did they fake this? So many facts confirming the moon landings but little evidence that it was all a big fake.

      PSquare - 2011-09-06 10:29

      Yes, 40 years ago they could send men over there but now they are sending robots...Has their technology regressed or what ?

      Lanfear - 2011-09-06 10:54

      @ PSquare - no, its cheaper sending robots than humans.

      Anticar - 2011-09-06 11:21

      Your first sentence does make sense. In that spirit I will just assume that you are joking on your second sentence.

      NuttyZA - 2011-09-06 13:51

      Also, why would we want astronauts orbiting the moon for 3 months??? Robots much better suited for the job AND we don't have to bring them back

      GM - 2011-09-06 14:49

      Have you seen the URL on the fake Apollo missions? Try Also have you seen the movie Capricorn 1? Interesting!!

      ThinkAboutIt - 2011-09-06 15:29

      It's a little more accurate measuring the weakest force known to man (gravity) with sensitive instruments, than with a human jumping up and down with a stop-watch, don't you think?

  • neo_acheron - 2011-09-06 09:03

    "After travelling independently to the moon, they will circle the planet for three months." <-- WTF? Do they mean Earth or do they refer to the moon as a planet now?

      dogue - 2011-09-06 12:18

      the moon is a planet that circles another planet.

      Talesa - 2011-09-06 15:43

      @dogue. - In order for a celestial body to qualify as a planet, it has to revolve around a sun, independent of other bodies. So no, the moon is not a planet.

      Tiens - 2011-09-07 02:19

      but talesa, the moon DOES orbit the sun LOL

      Talesa - 2011-09-07 10:03

      @mal10s - The moon does not orbit the sun independently.

  • Bernard - 2011-09-06 09:05

    Scientists can't even agree as to how the earth is structured deeper than the hell will they figure out the moon???

  • spiral - 2011-09-06 09:11

    The US is bordering on a double dip recession & they still spending billions of dollars on what? How is "what the moon is made" of going to help mankind in any way...?

      Herb - 2011-09-06 09:39

      Cheese man its easy I can save them stacks...

      Lanfear - 2011-09-06 10:55

      Oh please, just shut up! What should they spend it on? An even bigger defence budget? The poor and needy who won't stop breeding? Scientific progress, space travel, using what we find "out there", will be the saviour. Not some two-bit plan on giving everyone a free meal.

      Sean - 2011-09-06 11:28

      Agree 100% with Lanfear. If the US had taken the money it had spent on AID to the Black hole of useless Africa over the last 30 years, and spent it at NASA instead, we would probably have a colony on Mars by now. It's time to let this generation of poor either die or learn to support themselves, preferably before they give birth to the next even larger generation of poor starving uselessness.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-06 11:37

      Maybe they can build a few prisons on the moon?

      spiral - 2011-09-06 12:07

      No Lanfear, im afraid i wont shut up. How about they spend it researching space then... how on earth is the moons make "Scientific progress, space travel" Get some manners (or personality for that matter)... have a conversation instead of telling ppl to shut up. might be showing your intellectual maturity hey.

      dogue - 2011-09-06 12:23

      @Sean/Lanfear: So true! I wish I could give you 100 thumbs up but I can only give one. @Tolerant: Brilliant idea! (LOL)

      dogue - 2011-09-06 14:26

      Spiral, some time ago scientists and philosophers spend vast amounts of time finding out what matter is made of. This seemingly useless waste of time, they could be doing something more useful like planting vegetables to feed us, gave us valves, transistors, computer chips.... See, without them we would be in the Stone Age. B.t.w., if in the Stone Age they thought like you, they'd never come up with any tools, those sissies wasting time trying to dodge real work like hunting with bare hands and looking for food and women.

      spiral - 2011-09-06 14:39

      lol! whatever... to each his own hey

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 15:10

      i recommend Lanfear, Sean, Tolerant and dogue for the first manned mission to Mars. The world would be a better place without you and you can play with your action figures in a small capsule. everyone wins. thats darwinism.

      dogue - 2011-09-06 16:26

      sjkranenburg, and we're taking women too. We'll start a new colony. You can't come.

  • groenie - 2011-09-06 10:06

    The first paragraph makes it sound as if this is the first time a NASA mission is heading to the moon after the Apollo missions. This is incorrect, NASA visited the moon in 2009. ( And the missions referred to by the article, is the GRAIL missions.

  • Badballie - 2011-09-06 10:07

    must have some military significance, disaster shelters or something. No technology in existence hasn't first been used for military applications.

  • werner.bezuidenhout - 2011-09-06 11:35

    Measuring gravity?? Riiiiiight... My opinion, a smoke screen to a huge conspiracy. They are looking for something else. NASA is known for keeping secrets. Why would they stop now.

      Adriaan - 2011-09-06 12:01

      By measuring the gravity around the moon they can draw a map of where the gravity is stronger and where it is weaker. A stronger gravitational pull indicates denser substances below the surface, such as metals for instance. Maybe they are looking for large deposits of gold or some other precious metal?

      Ateis - 2011-09-06 12:05

      Care to enlighten us with what NASA is hiding?

      dogue - 2011-09-06 12:26

      You don't know?! They're putting flags there and other stuff that they say they left behind to then "prove" that they've been there before. (Sorry, I couldn't resist a bit of trolling)

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 15:13

      werner i've always wanted to ask one of you nutjobs, why do they need to keep things secret?? why?? what idiotic purpose would that serve??

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