NASA will open moon samples from Apollo missions nearly 50 YEARS later

NASA will finally open moon samples from the Apollo missions nearly 50 YEARS after they were brought back to Earth

  • NASA has selected two teams to analyze samples from Apollo 15 and 17 missions
  • Some have never been opened on Earth, while others have been in cold storage
  • It comes just as NASA said it’s on track to send humans to the moon by 2028 
  • e-mail

36

View
comments

NASA will finally open a series of samples brought back from the surface of the moon nearly 50 years after they were collected during the Apollo missions.

The space agency revealed this week that it has selected two teams to analyze the decades-old materials from Apollo 15 and 17, some of which have never been opened on Earth.

Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will investigate the lunar samples to better understand the abundance of organic compounds on the moon, and how these materials withstand the effects of cosmic rays.

Scroll down for video 


NASA will finally open a series of samples brought back from the surface of the moon nearly 50 years after they were collected during the Apollo missions. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is shown above during the first lunar landing of the Apollo 11 mission

WHEN IS NASA GOING BACK TO THE MOON?

In a statement in March, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine doubled down on plans to send humans first to the moon and then to Mars and said NASA is on track to have humans back on the moon by 2028.

The plan relies on the developing Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, along with the Gateway orbital platform.

SLS and Orion are expected to be ready for their first uncrewed test flight in 2020.

Construction on Gateway – an orbiting lunar outpost – is expected to begin as soon as 2022.

‘We will go to the Moon in the next decade with innovative, new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the lunar surface than ever before,’ Bridenstine said on Monday.

‘This time, when we go to the Moon, we will stay.

‘We will use what we learn as we move forward to the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.’

WHEN IS NASA GOING BACK TO THE MOON?

In a statement in March, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine doubled down on plans to send humans first to the moon and then to Mars and said NASA is on track to have humans back on the moon by 2028.

The plan relies on the developing Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, along with the Gateway orbital platform.

SLS and Orion are expected to be ready for their first uncrewed test flight in 2020.

Construction on Gateway – an orbiting lunar outpost – is expected to begin as soon as 2022.

‘We will go to the Moon in the next decade with innovative, new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the lunar surface than ever before,’ Bridenstine said on Monday.

‘This time, when we go to the Moon, we will stay.

‘We will use what we learn as we move forward to the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.’

NASA selected the two proposals as part of The Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) program.

The space agency is hoping to get the most out of its past excursions to the moon ahead of its next lunar missions, planned for the 2020s.

In addition to samples that have never been opened on Earth, others have sat in cold storage since they were collected in the early 1970s.

‘This is a unique and exciting opportunity to use state-of-the-art techniques on lunar samples that have been preserved for almost 50 years and to study questions that scientists at the time may have asked but didn’t have the ability to answer,’ said Jamie Elsila, principle investigator of the team studying volatile compounds and possible precursors to amino acids.

‘It’s a privilege to have access to these special samples and we hope to contribute not only to increase our knowledge of lunar chemistry but also to improve our understanding of how to best preserve samples returned by future NASA missions.’

A second team will investigate the geologic history of the moon samples using noble gases to determine how long they sat at the surface exposed to cosmic says.

The initiative coincides with the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on the moon. And in just a few years, NASA says it is going back.

  • Elon Musk says reduced prices ‘shouldn’t have been offered’… Flight-hailing startup Blackbird, dubbed ‘Uber for planes’… Toyota’s self-driving lunar microbus: Firm unveils concept… Is the iPhone in trouble? Demand for Apple’s flagship…

Share this article

In a statement on the $21 billion 2020 budget released yesterday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine doubled down on plans to send humans first to the moon and then to Mars.

Bridenstine says NASA is on track to have humans back on the moon by 2028.

The plan, which has been in development over the last few years, relies on the developing Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, along with the Gateway orbital platform.  




The space agency revealed this week that it has selected two teams to analyze the decades-old materials from Apollo 15 and 17, some of which have never been opened on Earth. Scientists will investigate the samples to understand the abundance of organic compounds on the moon


The initiative coincides with the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on the moon. The Apollo 9 Command/Service Module is shown during its Earth-orbital mission

‘Getting the chance to work on these samples is like participating in a completely new mission to the moon,’ said Natalie Curran, who is leading the second team.

‘Even though these are Apollo samples, they’ve never been opened, and we don’t know what surprises are in store for us.

‘I’m excited to have a part in our generation’s era of exploration of the moon.’

WHAT WAS THE APOLLO PROGRAM?


NASA photo taken on July 16, 1969 shows the huge, 363-foot tall Apollo 11 Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module S/Saturn 506) space vehicle launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT).

Apollo was the NASA programme that launched in 1961 and got man on the moon.

The first four flights tested the equipment for the Apollo Program and six of the other seven flights managed to land on the moon.

The first manned mission to the moon was Apollo 8 which circled around it on Christmas Eve in 1968 but did not land.

The crew of Apollo 9 spent ten days orbiting Earth and completed the first manned flight of the lunar module – the section of the Apollo rocket that would later land Neil Armstrong on the Moon.  

The Apollo 11 mission was the first on to land on the moon on 20 July 1969.

The capsule landed on the Sea of Tranquillity, carrying mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the lunar surface while Collins remained in orbit around the moon. 

When Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, he said, ‘That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.’

Apollo 12 landed later that year on 19 November on the Ocean of Storms, writes NASA.  

Apollo 13 was to be the third mission to land on the moon, but just under 56 hours into flight, an oxygen tank explosion forced the crew to cancel the lunar landing and move into the Aquarius lunar module to return back to Earth.  

Apollo 15 was the ninth manned lunar mission in the Apollo space program, and considered at the time the most successful manned space flight up to that moment because of its long duration and greater emphasis on scientific exploration than had been possible on previous missions. 

The last Apollo moon landing happened in 1972 after a total of 12 astronauts had touched down on the lunar surface.


Astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin unpacking experiments from the Lunar Module on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Photographed by Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969

 

Source: Read Full Article

Error processing request