NASA Testing New Equipment for Future Moon Romps

Concept Lunar Rover
Image: NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced yesterday numerous new technologies being tested for use by future astronauts on the surface of the Moon. One of these is the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE). NASA’s director of Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) refers to ATHLETE as “a big flatbed truck, so you can put things on it to move them around.” Another vehicle under development, a type of manned lunar rover, is compared to a recreational vehicle (RV). Astronauts will be able to stay in the small RV-like vehicle (imaged) which will have spacesuits attached via a special portal so that they can easily go from the RV to their spacesuits for a walk on the Moon. Learn more about new technologies under test at NASA for the future missions to the Moon here.

Galileo Saw Venus Phases, COROT sees Exoplanet Phases

Orbiting a star GSC 04804-02268 in the constellation Monoceros, is an extrasolar planet now called CoRoT 1b. It was named such as the first planet discovered by the CoRoT (COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits) spacecraft telescope, launched in December 2006. It is located approximately 1,560 light-years away in the constellation of Monoceros. The planet was discovered orbiting GSC 04804-02268 in May 2007. Perhaps it is fitting, that 400 years after Galileo discovered the phases of Venus, the CoRoT team should announce that apparently this planet CoRoT 1b also displays phases. Read more about the phases of an exoplanet online now here. Phases of exoplanets have also been reported for HD 189733b. You can read about HD 189733b light curves and the evidence for phases of that planet online here (subscription required).

Russia to Delay Phobos Mission Two Years

Russia was to launch their Phobos-Grunt mission to the moon of Mars called Phobos, this October. Apparently, although details are lacking, Russia will announce today that it must delay the launch of the Phobos-Grunt mission two years, to 2009. Read more about the delay of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft online now here.