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Moon Monday #78: NASA’s Lunar-Mars vision, forward planning Artemis I, and more lunar updates

Mapping NASA’s Moon to Mars objectives to efforts on EarthOn May 17, NASA released a draft set of 50 one-liner, high-level Moon to Mars objectives, notably the first time anything specific on the matter has been put out publicly. The objectives, aimed at establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon first and Mars after, are placed into the following...

How Uranus and Neptune are key to unlocking how planets form

Uranus (left) in 1986 and Neptune (right) in 1989. These Voyager 2 portraits are newly reprocessed to show the two planets at correct relative size and color. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Björn JónssonIn the recent, most important U.S. planetary science report of the decade, scientists have endorsed that NASA undertake a flagship mission to Uranus,...

Moon Monday #77: Lunar soil plants, growing international synergy, more SLS fixes, and other lunar updates

Plants grow in lunar soil, but barely like itFor the first time ever, researchers have successfully grown plants in lunar soil, particularly in several samples from Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions. The plants weren’t as healthy as the control group plants were in lunar soil simulants made from terrestrial volcanic ash, chosen so as to mimic the volcanic...

Fun with serious SLS rocket headlines

I've been having some fun writing eerily reflective headlines on my Moon Monday newsletter about the clumsy progress of NASA’s SLS rocket.NASA’s Moon rocket crawls to the launchpadNASA’s Moon rocket just won’t move fast enoughThe SLS rocket’s wet dress rehearsal comes out dryMy job as a space writer isn’t to be a blind cheerleader for whatever space...

When to worry about an asteroid hitting Earth

Illustration showing early Earth being bombarded by asteroids carrying water and organics—key ingredients for life as we know it. Credit: NASA GoddardWe’re living in what is perhaps the most peaceful time in our solar system’s history. It’s hard to imagine the period roughly 4 billion years ago when our planet was being bombarded by huge asteroids and...

Moon Monday #76: The two worlds of Luna, ispace Europe and some crisp lunar updates

The lunar dichotomy deepensCredits: NASA LRO / GSFC / ASU / Jatan MehtaIn a recent study, Brown University scientists presented yet another hypothesis for why the two sides of our Moon are completely different worlds. They extensively modeled various impact scenarios that could’ve created the farside 2,600-kilometer wide South Pole-Aitken Basin—the...

Luna Sights – Browse a world of craters, mountains, lava channels and more!

Partly inspired by NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), Luna Sights is a project by me, Jatan Mehta, to showcase interesting places on the Moon. The aim is to let people explore intriguing geological views of our cosmic neighbor and learn about their origin and exploratory value.Gallery: Our Moon’s captivating cratersGallery: Our Moon's marvelous...

Moon Monday #75: One orbiter to rule them all, a pathfinder and a communications relay network

I’m delighted to welcome Open Lunar Foundation as a sponsor of Moon Monday! I love their work on space policy to help ensure that our return to the Moon with humans is sustainable and cooperative. Jessy gave me feedback on the very first Moon Monday issue, and Open Lunar has been supportive ever since, so I’m really happy to have their extended support....

Gallery: Our Moon’s captivating craters

Our Moon hosts an incredible diversity of craters, many of which are well preserved since their formation over a billion years ago! Here’s a tour of some of the most intriguing lunar craters—from gigantic ones to literally micro and everything in between. This is the fourth blog post in a curated gallery series touring pretty sights on our Moon, following...

Moon Monday #74: Bold new missions and pathways for more lunar science, and loaded hardware updates

I just want to start off by saying how glad I’m for receiving encouraging responses from readers to taking the sponsorships route with Moon Monday last week. Hearing from people I look up to about how they liked the laying out of the rationale and path forward was very reassuring. Thank you so much, I look forward to writing this newsletter for years...

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