The Lunar Prospector with solar panels attached
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Another Giant Leap for Mankind...
News story originally written on January 7, 1998
The Lunar Prospector is on its way to the Moon after a perfect launch yesterday aboard the Lockheed Martin Athena 2. The launch of the Lunar Prospector had been delayed
one day because of a radar failure in the system needed to track the Athena rocket.
It will take the Prospector four and a half days to reach the Moon. This mission is NASA's first lunar mission since Apollo 17, 25 years ago. This lunar mission will complete the mapping of the Moon that was done by the Apollo program (so this really is a giant leap for mankind!). Apparently, 75% of the Moon is mapped incompletely.
The Prospector spacecraft carries with it one ounce of Gene Shoemaker's ashes. They were placed in a polycarbonate cylindrical container, wrapped with brass foil on which is a laser-engraved inscription honoring Shoemaker's life. Shoemaker, who died on July 18, 1997, discovered (with the help of his wife Carolyn and colleague David Levy) the Shoemaker-Levy comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
The Lunar Prospector has reached the Moon. The Prospector is in its final mapping orbit. The current spacecraft status is healthy, with all instruments on. Communication with Prospector is stable. ...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more