Archive for May, 2018

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2060, May 23, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now carrying out Sol 2063 duties.

Reports Ken Herkenhoff, a planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona, some of the Duluth drill sample was dropped into the robot’s Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin), but not enough for a proper mineralogical analysis.

So the top priority in a newly scripted plan is to again test the new drop-off procedure.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2061, May 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Sample transfer issue

Since the drill feed mechanism became unreliable over a year ago, Herkenhoff adds, drill samples can no longer be sieved and processed in the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) device as they were earlier in the mission. CHIRMA is attached to the turret at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm.

“Instead, portions of the sample must be dropped from the tip of the drill directly into the analytical instruments,” Herkenhoff explains. This new Feed-Extended Sample Transfer (FEST) procedure will be repeated on Sol 2064, over bedrock and over the closed Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite inlet cover.

“Mastcam images will be taken both before and after the drop-off in both locations, to allow the size of the sample portion to be estimated. The results of these tests will be used to inform future drop-off planning,” Herkenhoff adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Right photo taken on Sol 2059, May 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Change detection observations

Mars researchers have planned for four sols of rover work so that the tactical operations team can take a day off for the Memorial Day holiday.

More change detection observations are scattered throughout the plan, with Right Mastcam images of dark sand ripples at “Noodle Lake” and the Duluth drill tailings on Sol 2063 at various times; the same for Sol 2064 and Sol 2065.

“The goal of these observations is to constrain the frequency of wind gusts that are strong enough to move loose material. The Rover Planners also requested multiple Right Mastcam images of the sample drop-off location on nearby bedrock for the same purpose,” Herkenhoff says. These are scheduled in the afternoons of Sols 2063, 2065, and 2066.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2061, May 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Bumpy bedrock

Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) will also be busy this weekend, measuring the chemistry of a bumpy bedrock target named “Brule Mountain” and layered bedrock targets “Devil Track” and “Devilfish Tower” on Sol 2063.

The latter two targets will be captured in a single Right Mastcam image soon afterward.

On Sol 2064, ChemCam will observe some pebbles dubbed “Paupores” and Right Mastcam will acquire a single image covering both Brule Mountain and Paupores.

Early on Sol 2065, Mastcam and Navcam will measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere, and Navcam will search for clouds. Later that morning, Right Mastcam will take a picture of a nearby bedrock block dubbed “Deerwood.” In the afternoon, Mastcam will image the Sun and sky to measure the scattering properties and size distribution of dust in the atmosphere over Gale Crater, with supporting Navcam imaging, Herkenhoff concludes.

Commercial interest in returning to the Moon.
Photo Credit: NASA/GSFC

NASA is orchestrating a robotic lunar campaign, one that will rely upon commercial partners to deliver instruments and technology to the Moon’s surface.

Among the instruments to be flown are those once to be onboard the now scuttled NASA Resource Prospector. That rover project once aimed to be the first mining expedition on another world. Using a suite of instruments to locate elements from a lunar polar region, the rover was designed to excavate volatiles such as hydrogen, oxygen and water from the Moon.

NASA Resource Prospector.
Credit: NASA

High technology readiness

Dennis Andrucyk, deputy associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters has said that a thorough science and engineering assessment of Resource Prospector was recently done. It was determined that all four Resource Prospector instruments are at a high technology readiness level, ready for flight on future Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions.

Credit: NASA

 

 

The science potential for each instrument varies with the potential landing site, and most can be enhanced “through mobility after landing,” according to a NASA statement. Those instruments are:

— Near Infrared Volatile Spectrometer Subsystem, or NIRVSS, to monitor the Moon’s surface and identify water and other volatiles

— Neutron Spectrometer Subsystem, or NSS, to search for hydrogen below the Moon’s surface

— A regolith and ice drill

— Water Analysis and Volatile Extraction (WAVE) instrument to accept and heat samples to quantify water and other volatiles extracted from below the surface

Lunar subsurface

These early instruments will be an important step to better understanding what’s below the Moon’s surface.

“We know there are volatiles at the poles on the Moon, and quite frankly, that water ice could represent rocket fuel,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a recent public town hall meeting.

“If we have the capability to generate rocket fuel from the surface of the Moon, and get them into orbit around the Moon, we could use that to build a fueling depot. If we want to make that happen though, we will need commercial partners,” Bridenstine said.

ESA’s 10 meters deep Neutral Buoyancy Facility at the European Astronaut Center has been the site of the ‘Moondive’ study.
Credit: ESA/COMEX

 

 

Total immersion – Moondive style.

One of the deepest neutral buoyancy facilities in Europe is in use to simulate lunar gravity – one-sixth that of Earth.

The European Space Agency’s Neutral Buoyancy Facility (NBF) at the European Astronaut Center (EAC) near Cologne in Germany has been the site of a three year “Moondive” study. The facility has been used to investigate moonwalk procedures for the lunar surface.

Artwork depicts ESA lunar base. Europe is testing and training in specialized facilities for the human exploration of the Moon.
Credit: ESA/Screengrab

The updated facility joins a range of ESA simulators, training software and hardware and EAC’s “Luna Dome.” That dome is now in preparation, designed to simulate the effects of lunar dust on equipment and hardware. The intent of all the simulators is to place Europe in the forefront of testing and training facilities for the human exploration of the Moon.

One small kangaroo jump

Moondive was run by a consortium led by the French company, Comex, which specializes in human and robotic exploration of extreme environments.

Kangaroo jumping on the Moon, the optimum walking strategy.
Credit: NASA

The optimum walking strategy in this finely-tuned negative buoyancy turns out to be to kangaroo jump – just like the Apollo astronauts did on the Moon, notes Hervé Stevenin, ESA’s Head of EVA Training and NBF Operations.

Techniques and technology

Adds Peter Weiss, Head of the Space Department at Comex: “We focused on the techniques and technology we will need to prepare astronauts for future missions to the Moon. The idea was to come up with a database of items, tools and tasks that astronauts may have to handle on missions to the Moon, not just for training purposes but also for testing and validating new equipment and ways of doing things,” Weiss explains in an ESA press statement.

Go to this informative Moondive video at:

https://dlmultimedia.esa.int/download/public/videos/2018/04/009/1804_009_AR_EN.mp4

 

 

Mars expedition probes the promise that Mars was a home address for past, possibly life today.
Credit: NASA

“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint. We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars.” – President Donald J. Trump

The White House has issued the following fact sheet regarding President Donald J. Trump’s Reforming and Modernizing American Commercial Space Policy:

Directive-2

President Trump’s Space Policy Directive – 2 reforms America’s commercial space regulatory framework, ensuring our place as a leader in space commerce.

Issued on May 24, 2018, the Space Policy Directive – 2 sets executive branch policy to ensure that government regulations adopted and enforced promote economic growth; minimize uncertainty for taxpayers, investors, and private industry; protect national security, public-safety, and foreign policy interests; and encourage American leadership in space commerce.

New regulatory system

Under the Directive, the Secretary of Transportation is to release a new regulatory system for managing launch and re-entry activity, targeting an industry that is undergoing incredible transformation with regulations that have failed to keep up.

Credit: SpaceX/Screengrab

In writing the new rules, the Secretary will consider requiring a single license for all types of commercial space flight launch and re-entry operations and replacing prescriptive requirements in the process with performance-based criteria.

The President is committed to ensuring that the Federal government gets out of the way and unleashes private enterprise to support the economic success of the United States.

Remote sensing

The commercial remote sensing industry is a critical national asset. As such, the Directive requires the Commerce Secretary to review commercial remote sensing regulations for consistency with the Directive’s policy and address regulations that do not conform.

Earth remote sensing spacecraft.
Credit: Planet

The current regulatory system is woefully out of date and needs significant reform to ensure the United States remains the chosen jurisdiction for these high tech companies.

President Donald J. Trump is committed to reform these systems in order to ensure American companies have every advantage in the international marketplace.

One-stop shop

Within 30 days, the Commerce Secretary is directed to transmit a plan to create a “one-stop shop” within the Department of Commerce for administering and regulating commercial space flight activities.

Agencies are directed to present to the President a report on improving global competitiveness of United States space radio frequency spectrum policies, regulation, and activities at the International Telecommunication Union and other multilateral forums.

The Directive requires the National Space Council to review export licensing regulations affecting commercial space flight activity and deliver recommendations to the President within 180 days.

President Trump is committed to reforming our out-of-date space policies and has already taken significant steps to refocus United States space strategy.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the Space Policy Directive – 1 after signing it, directing NASA to return to the Moon, alongside members of the Senate, Congress, NASA, and commercial space companies in the Roosevelt room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Past actions

On March 23, 2018, President Trump unveiled a National Space Strategy that prioritizes American interests, ensuring a strategy that will make America strong, competitive, and great.

On June 30 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order reconvening the National Space council for the first time in 24 years.

On December 11, 2017, the President signed Space Policy Directive – 1, instructing NASA to return American astronauts to the Moon, followed by human missions to Mars.

Space Policy Directive – 2 is the second batch of recommendations made to the President by the National Space Council.

Paperwork and oversight

“When people watch an American spaceship soaring towards the heavens, or look at a satellite map on their cell phone, they don’t realize that a lot of paperwork and careful oversight from the federal government empowered a U.S. company to launch a rocket or collect and sell overhead imagery,” said Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, reflecting on the new Directive.

“Today’s signing will help make it easier for American entrepreneurs to get permission to invent new breakthroughs in space. You might say the space frontier became a little more “open” to the American people today,” Stallmer said in a press statement.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is seen during a NASA town hall event, Thursday, May 17, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA response

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Thursday’s signing of Space Policy Directive-2 by President Donald Trump:

“NASA is pleased with the White House’s continued commitment to advancing America’s leadership in space. Space Policy Directive-2 (SPD-2) is another step towards bolstering our nation’s dedication to uncovering new knowledge, protecting our national security, developing breakthrough technologies, and creating new jobs.

“Our thriving space economy will continue to grow and support our missions to the Moon and Mars thanks to the Administration’s long-term investment in commercial partners who now successfully carry research and cargo to the International Space Station, and will soon transport U.S. astronauts from American soil for the first time since 2011.

“Giving American entrepreneurs the tools and guidance to pursue innovation to the best of their abilities has served our space program well from the beginning, and allows the government to purchase services it needs while we focus on returning to the Moon, expanding our presence on Mars, and pushing deeper into space.

“We look forward to working with the Secretary of Transportation as that agency works on transforming the licensing of commercial space flight launch and re-entry and to coordinating with the Department of Commerce as it consolidates commercial spaceflight activities in the Office of the Secretary.

“A light but focused regulatory touch will help our industry partners provide the best and safest services for our nation and expedite their work. There are many innovative companies across this nation working hard to build a bright future in space, and our policies should help ensure their success on all fronts.

“SPD-2 provides yet another way for the members of the National Space Council to provide much-needed direction for the many different aspects of our nation’s activity in space, providing communication and coordination on these complex enterprises for the benefit of our nation and the world.”

 

ROC™ FALL
Credit: Roccor

 

A deployable atmospheric drag deorbit device called ROC™ FALL has entered into the marketplace, facilitating the reliable and predictable passive deorbit of spacecraft at end-of-life.

Roccor, based in Longmont, Colorado, has developed a simple roll-out drag sail design to meet the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) 25-year deorbit lifetime guideline.

Recently, a large defense contractor developing a 150kg class small satellite for launch on the  U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program-2 (STP2) mission came to Roccor to provide a baseline strategy to ensure deorbit within 25 years after the spacecraft’s end of life. The booster for STP2 is a SpaceX Falcon Heavy to be loaded with a cluster of military and scientific research satellites.

Despite being given minimal payload volume, mass, development time, and budget with which to work, Roccor was able to develop a simple roll-out drag sail design to meet the requirements.

The result was Roccor’s ROC™ FALL concept, a cost-effective solution with regulatory approval for end-of-life management.

Credit: Roccor

Two tail-feathers

“Given the hazard to all space users that uncontrolled orbital debris can pose, for example the recent Chinese Space Station that crashed to Earth, it is more important than ever to have systems in place upon launch that will ensure safe end-of-life systems now and decades to come,” said Doug Campbell, president and CEO of Roccor, in a press statement.

Dana Turse, Director of Space R&D Programs, Roccor adds that the FCC is now enforcing this 25-year standard on all U.S.-based satellite users who apply for an FCC license. “Yes, U.S. satellites that carry radios that communicate with the ground must have an FCC license in order to operate… and that’s why the FCC is interested in space trash!”

Turse notes that Roccor conceived of the idea to add two tail-feather-light deployable sheets to an unused outer deck of the satellite.

Credit: Roccor

“At the end of the satellite’s useful life, these so-called ROC™ FALL “feathers”2 will be extended out several meters in length and produce enough drag to slow the satellite gradually and ensure it de-orbits long before the IADC-mandated 25-year limit,” Turse explains.

Reverse the trend

“So, we know we can reverse the trend of increasing space debris, and we’ve shown it doesn’t have to break the bank,” Turse continues. “Moreover, we believe we should not wait for international treaties or further regulations from the U.S. government to compel us to do so. The US satellite industry should embrace a Space Age leave no trace ethic and show the rest of the spacefaring nations how to protect the economic – if not environmental – sanctity of space,” she concludes.

For more information, go to:

http://roccor.com/

Also, go to this short video:

http://roccor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/roc_fall.gif

Credit: Bryan Versteeg

A new research paper is flagging the psychological underpinnings of long duration treks to Mars.

Bottom line: If humanity hopes to make it to Mars anytime soon, we need to understand not just technology, but the psychological dynamic of a small group of astronauts trapped in a confined space for months with no escape.

One understudied area of spaceflight teams, the paper explains, involves coordinating communication across a multiteam system (MTS) under conditions of communication delay.

“Relatedly, more scientifically rigorous research and development of training and countermeasures are required to ensure that the remote, highly autonomous spaceflight team is able to maintain teamwork skills throughout a mission lasting 2 to 3 years with reduced support from Mission Control.”

MARS 500 Session training in the IMBP module.
Credit: IBMP RAS

The paper – “Teamwork and Collaboration in Long-Duration Space Missions: Going to Extremes” – has been published in American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.

Critical components

“Teamwork and collaboration are critical components of all space flights and will be even more important for astronauts during long-duration missions, such as to Mars. The astronauts will be months away from home, confined to a vehicle no larger than a mid-sized RV for two to three years and there will be an up to 45-minute lag on communications to and from Earth,” said Lauren Blackwell Landon of KBRwyle/NASA in Houston, Texas, lead author of the paper in a press statement.

Credit: NASA

Kelley J. Slack University of Houston/NASA as well as Jamie D. Barrett of the Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma co-authored the research paper.

Assemble best teams

Currently, psychological research on spaceflight is limited, especially regarding teams, the researchers suggest. Applying best practices in psychology, the authors offered insights into how NASA can assemble the best teams possible to ensure successful long-duration missions.

Other research factoids are highlighted:

 Astronauts who are highly emotionally stable, agreeable, open to new experiences, conscientious, resilient, adaptable and not too introverted or extroverted are more likely to work well with others. A sense of humor will also help to defuse tense situations, according to the authors.

 The long delay in communication to and from Earth will mean that crews will have to be highly autonomous as they will not be able to rely on immediate help from Mission Control. The authors said this will be an ongoing challenge and having defined goals, building trust, developing communication norms and debriefing will help alleviate potential conflict.

 The researchers also advised the use of technology to monitor the physiological health of astronauts to predict points of friction among team members, due to lack of sleep, for example.

To access the paper – “Teamwork and Collaboration in Long-Duration Space Missions: Going to Extremes” – go to:  

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-amp0000260.pdf

 

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2058, May 21, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is performing Sol 2061 science duties.

“After successfully drilling the ‘Duluth’ target on Sol 2057, the science team is eager to find out what it’s made of,” reports Lauren Edgar, planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Edgar says the plan calls for drop-off of material to the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) for overnight analysis. “Hopefully we’ll get some good data about the mineralogy of this sample!”

Vein targets

In addition to the CheMin activities, the team has planned another Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observation of the “Duluth” drill hole, and nearby bedrock and vein targets named “Prosit” and “Grand Marais.”

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2060, May 23, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Last Monday, the science team delivered three portions of the drill material to a nearby rock surface, and in a follow-up plan they are monitoring those piles to see if any of the fines are moving in the wind.

Sandy ripple

“We’ll also check for changes in a sandy ripple named “Esko.” Both change detection observations will be repeated on the second sol, along with a Mastcam mosaic to provide more context for this drill location,” Edgar adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2059, May 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The environmental theme group also planned a couple of Navcam dust devil observations, a Mastcam tau, and a Mastcam crater rim extinction activity to monitor dust in the atmosphere.

Edgar concludes: “Looking forward to finding out what this rock is made of!”

Curiosity Mastcam Right image of drill hole taken on Sol 2058, May 21, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

Now in Sol 2060, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is back in gear in its drilling functions.

Reports Mark Salvatore, a planetary geologist at the University of Michigan in Dearborn: “This past weekend, Curiosity successfully drilled into the ‘Duluth’ rock target, generating a beautiful pile of drill tailings! This is a very exciting time for us on the rover team,” he notes, “who have been waiting for quite a while to successfully drill into a target and to ingest samples into the rover’s analytical instruments.”

Before Mars researchers are able to use all of the rover’s instruments they must first characterize the nature of the materials that were collected during the drill activities.

Collected sample

Back on Monday, the science team planned for the characterization of three small portions of the collected sample that were to be dropped onto the surface in front of Curiosity so that images of these materials could be taken at high resolution.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2059, May 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

While these efforts were not primarily driven by science — the rover engineers were more interested in the nature of the sample and whether there would be any difficulties in delivering the sample to Curiosity’s instruments – the science team, Salvatore adds, “didn’t dare miss an opportunity to make some cool measurements of the new materials in front of us!”

Sand ripples

On the Monday plan was multispectral imaging of the drill target and some regular visible imaging of a small patch of sand ripples named “Esko.” The drill target observation was requested to help determine how the interior of the Duluth target differs from its surface, Salvatore reports, while the imaging of Esko was used to see if there is any motion of the Esko ripples over time.

Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) device was then used to passively image the drill hole, and then to actively characterize the chemistry of the drill hole and drill tailings using its laser instrument.

The rover’s Mastcam and ChemCam imaging capabilities were also used to acquire high-resolution images of the small test portions throughout the plan.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 2059, May 22, 2018. Note laser shots within the drill hole.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Long awaited measurements

The next day’s science plan had two Mastcam observations – one of the small portions and one of the Esko ripples, “both of which were designed to identify whether the wind had modified these surfaces at all. Environmental measurements were also made on the second day to search for both cloud motion and dust devils,” Salvatore adds.

“We’re all very excited to continue on with drill activities and to make some long awaited measurements,” Salvatore concludes. “Stay tuned for more updates as the week progresses!”

No official word as yet, but new downlink photos indicate that Curiosity did sink its drill into the complexly-layered “Duluth” block.

The robot is now performing Sol 2059 duties.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 2057, May 20, 2018
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Earlier, Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in  Silver Spring, Maryland reported the rover was also slated to gather more data from the “Blunts Point” member rocks in front of and around the robot.

The Duluth target was neatly cleared of dust by the Dust Removal Tool prior to drilling.

The robot’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) in passive mode and Mastcam’s multispectral mode was slated to gauge what iron mineralogy was hiding beneath the target’s thin veneer of dust. ChemCam was to shoot three targets to learn more about the chemistry of the layers within the Duluth block and similar blocks around it.

Delicate layer

“Within the Duluth block, ChemCam will target “Chisholm,” the delicate layer curling up above the top of the Duluth block, and ‘Aitkin,’ another layer jutting out from the side of the block,” Minitti explains. “The ‘Buhl’ target sits off to the rover’s right and represents another example of the Blunts Point member for ChemCam to sample.”

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2057, May 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Also on tap was use of Curiosity’s Mastcam to image two large blocks dubbed “Kabetogama” to learn more about the intricate layering of the Blunts Point member. Prior to drilling, Curiosity was to give the sky some attention. Images and movies acquired in the early morning will measure dust and look for clouds, while images and movies at mid-day will measure dust and look for dust devils.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2057, May 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Imaging the hole

Before drilling, Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) was to capture “before” images of the drill target, and MAHLI and Mastcam will image the areas where different portions of a drill sample could be dumped both before and after sample delivery to the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite and the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin).

Once the drill hole was created, ChemCam was to image the hole with its Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) to set up for shooting the laser down the drill hole in subsequent sols, and Mastcam and Navcam will image the post-drill workspace.

Work around the problem

“The engineers have worked incredibly hard to invent a new way to use the drill,” Minitti notes. “Their ability to work around the problem from afar and give us another chance at drilling is very much in the spirit of NASA’s engineers designing fixes to the systems of Apollo 13 as the spacecraft hurtled, crippled, to the Moon.”

Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2057, May 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

While the stakes are different for Curiosity, “the ingenuity is the same,” Minitti suggests. “The science team has been wondering what minerals might be responsible for the layers, veins and nodules in the Blunts Point rocks. A successful drill will mark the first step in answering that mystery.”

Credit: CNSA/CCTV Screengrab

The first phase of China’s bid to make space history by hurling a robotic mission to the far side of the moon is en route to a halo orbit of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2. The Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) relay satellite departed Earth atop a Long March 4C booster on Sunday evening May 20 (May 21 in China). Liftoff took place at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Comsat Launch Bolsters China’s Dreams for Landing on the Moon’s Far Side

The Queqiao orbiter will serve as a vital communications relay between the Earth and future lunar landers—and perform some science, too

By Leonard David on May 22, 2018

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/comsat-launch-bolsters-chinas-dreams-for-landing-on-the-moons-far-side/

Radio antennas of the Netherlands Chinese Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE), developed by ASTRON, Radboud Radio Lab, ISIS and the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC).
Credit: Radboud Radio Lab/ASTRON/Albert-Jan Boonstra

Moon landing target for Chang’e-4, the southern floor of the Von Kármán crater, within the South Pole-Aitken basin.
Courtesy: Philip Stooke

Griffith Observatory Event