Archive for the ‘Moon’ Category

The crew of an Apollo mission to the moon were so startled when they encountered strange music-like radio transmissions coming through their headsets, they didn’t know whether or not to report it to NASA, it’s been revealed.

It was 1969, two months before Apollo 11’s historic first manned landing on the moon, when Apollo 10 entered lunar orbit, which included traversing the far side of the moon when all spacecraft are out of radio contact with Earth for about an hour and nobody on Earth can see or hear them.

As far as the public knew, everything about the mission went smoothly.

Almost four decades went by before lost recordings emerged that revealed something unsettling that the three Apollo astronauts had experienced while flying above the far side of the moon.

The taped recordings contained “strange, otherworldly music coming through the Apollo module’s radio,” according to the upcoming Science Channel series, “NASA’s Unexplained Files.”

The conversation between the three astronauts indicated they heard sounds like they had never heard before:

“It sounds like, you know, outer space-type music.”

“You hear that? That whistling sound? Whooooooooo!”

“Well, that sure is weird music!”
The unexplained “music” transmission lasted almost an hour, and just before the astronauts regained radio contact with Earth, they discussed whether or not to tell Mission Control what they had experienced:

“It’s unbelievable! You know?”

“Shall we tell them about it?”

“I don’t know. We ought to think about it.”

“The Apollo 10 crew was very used to the kind of noise that they should be hearing. Logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there was something there,” Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden says on the Science Channel program. “NASA would withhold information from the public if they thought it was in the public’s best interest.”

The transcripts of the Apollo 10 mission were classified and untouched in NASA’s archives until 2008, producing an ongoing debate as to the nature and origin of the strange sounds heard by the astronauts.

“You don’t hear about anything like that until years after the incident occurs, and then you kind of wonder, because it’s such an old memory of those things that you get concerned about if they were making something up or was there something really there? Because you never really know,” Worden told The Huffington Post.

“If you’re behind the moon and hear some weird noise on your radio, and you know you’re blocked from the Earth, then what could you possibly think?” Worden said.

“We’d had a lot of incidents where guys who flew in space saw and heard things that they didn’t recognize, and you wonder about all of that. I have a very open mind about what could’ve happened. It’s somebody’s hearsay evidence — it’s only a visual or audio event, which is hard to pin down. Recollection is one thing, but actual proof is something entirely different.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/apollo-10-astronauts-reported-unexplained-music-at-moon_us_56c80662e4b0928f5a6c0679

Advertisements

This is not a scene from a sci-fi special effects movie. The green beam of light and red lunar disk are real enough, captured in the early morning hours of April 15. Of course, the reddened lunar disk is easy to explain as the image was taken during this week’s total lunar eclipse. Immersed in shadow, the eclipsed Moon reflects the dimmed reddened light of all the sunsets and sunrises filtering around the edges of planet Earth, seen in silhouette from a lunar perspective. But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in southern New Mexico, the beam’s path is revealed as Earth’s atmosphere scatters some of the intense laser light. The laser’s target is the Apollo 15 retroreflector, left on the Moon by the astronauts in 1971. By determining the light travel time delay of the returning laser pulse, the experimental team from UC San Diego is able to measure the Earth-Moon distance to millimeter precision and provide a test of General Relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity. Conducting the lunar laser ranging experiment during a total eclipse uses the Earth like a cosmic light switch. With direct sunlight blocked, the reflector’s performance is improved over performance when illuminated by sunlight during a normal Full Moon, an effect fondly known as The Full Moon Curse.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140418.html

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

April 15th is usually known for one reason only: Tax Day. However, this year citizens of North and South America are in for something a little more special. On the cosmic schedule this April are a full lunar eclipse and a Mars opposition. So how does all that work exactly? And what does it mean?

To begin with, a full lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is situated directly between the sun and the moon. Hence, the Earth casts its shadow straight on the surface of the usually bright full moon. On April 15th commencing at 1:58am the moon will be shifting into the Earth’s Umbra. Umbra is a word derived from Latin meaning “shade” or “shadow.” At this point the moon will only begin to be covered by the shadow as it assumes a reddish hue. From here on in the moon is in the process of a complete eclipse. The second phase of the eclipse will begin at around 3:07am when the moon will be exactly within the Earth’s Umbra and covered completed. This phase of the eclipse lasts over an hour until 4:25am. Then the third phase begins as the moon exists the Umbra.

The eclipse will be completely over by 5:33am. Lunar eclipses can be seen with the naked eye, binoculars, telescopes and require no special equipment as the solar eclipse does. The lunar eclipse and Mars opposition comprise a valuable and dear experience to star gazers in the Western hemisphere. However, astrologers will not be the only ones appreciate the beauty which these events offer.

What is a Mars opposition? Well, as the planets in the solar system revolve in elliptical patterns they are sometimes closer and further away from other planets. In this case, Mars is closer to Earth than it has been since 2007. Many still remember back in 2003 when Mars was extremely bright and visible to the naked eye for weeks. This event is similar except that the proximity of Mars is smaller at this time. Mars will be a mere 50 million miles away. On April 8th, as the sun is setting in the west, gazers should look directly to the east and there will discover a bright red dot on the celestial fabric. It is said that Mars will appear brighter even than the Sirius- that bright star within Canis Major which philosophers often look up to when deep in thought outside at night.

Mars will appear bright throughout the spring and summer though April 8th is the ideal night to catch a glimpse. Throughout the lunar eclipse it will also be brightly visible along with Saturn, Venus and Jupiter. It seems that the sky will be smiling down for tax day.

Many cultures both ancient and recent have looked up into the sky and deciphered these signs written in the stars. The Moon stands for the feminine, reflective side of people while the Sun is the masculine and active. Mars is the planet not only of war but of motivation and unstoppable force. Jupiter stands for justice, glory and honor, Venus for love and attraction and Saturn is the taskmaster who commands the attention of these aspects and puts them into action. For those who rely on the stars to plan certain events, this may be a very special night to commence.

With a lunar eclipse and Mars opposition, April is turning out to be a very powerful month. Be sure to make the most of it. With Mars in such a strong position, remember to wait for the right moment to make a move. With the lunar eclipse, remember to take time to reflect on thoughts and emotions. All in all, humanity is made of the stars and planets. Perhaps on April 15th the stars will be looking back down at Earth instead of the other way around.

http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/lunar-eclipse-and-mars-opposition/

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

dennissaguaroMoon_seip

Calling it the biggest loophole in the world doesn’t quite capture its reach: Dennis Hope claims that he owns the moon—and our solar system’s planets—due to what the Outer Space Treaty doesn’t say. The treaty has been the guiding document on space law since 1967, and while it bars any country on Earth from laying claim to a heavenly body, it makes no mention of private companies or individuals doing just that. So Hope formed Lunar Embassy Corp, snatched up the property rights to the moon and more, and has been selling off one-acre lots since.

Purchases can be made here: http://www.lunarembassy.com/

Though Yahoo shines a light on Hope’s offerings (your own piece of the moon will cost just $19.99 an acre; Mars will run you slightly more at $22.49), it’s far from the first time he’s been in the news. He was featured in the documentary Lunarcy!, out last month on Epix, notes the Hollywood Reporter, and he’s talked to media before. As National Geographic previously reported, Hope thinks he has solid ground to stand on: He registered his moon claim with the UN in 1980, and got no answer, which he thinks means it’s a go. And while there’s still plenty of real estate to be had, Hope has sold more than a nominal amount of each: 600 million moon acres (about 7.5% of it) and 325 million Mars acres. He says two former US presidents are landowners as well as 250 “very well known celebrities,” as are two US hotel chains. But Hope does draw the line somewhere: The Apollo landing sites are off-limits.

http://www.newser.com/story/167265/this-man-claims-he-owns-the-moon.html

grey-reef-shark-moon

Grey reef sharks behave differently depending on the point in the lunar cycle, new research suggests.

THE DIVING BEHAVIOUR OF sharks appears to be influenced by the moon, water temperature and time of day, researchers have revealed.

A study of about 40 grey reef sharks, commonly found on coral reefs in northern Australia and the Indo-Pacific, found they stayed in deep water during a full moon and moved to shallow water with the new moon.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time such patterns have been observed in detail for reef sharks,” says lead researcher Gabriel Vianna, from the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth.

The sharks were tagged near Palau, east of the Philippines, and followed for two years. During this time, scientists from UWA and the Australian Institute of Marine Science recorded their movement and diving patterns.

The findings, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, reveal that sharks descended to greater depths, and used a wider range of depths, around the time of the full moon.

Diving was also affected by seasonal changes, as the group, which mostly consisted of adult females, was recorded diving to an average depth of 35m in winter and 60m in spring.

In winter, the sharks remained closer to the surface, where the water was warmer. During summer, however, the sharks moved to a range of depths.

The researchers suggest that because sharks are cold blooded, they may prefer warmer water to conserve their energy. Warm water may also provide optimal conditions for foraging for food, the study says.

The findings also suggest that the time of day could affect how deeply sharks dive.

“We were surprised to see sharks going progressively deeper during the morning and the exact inverse pattern in the afternoon, gradually rising towards the surface,” says Gabriel, adding that the behaviour may relate to how much light is reflected on the reef at different times during the day.

Better knowledge of shark behaviour could help reduce the risk of sharks coming into contact with locals and tourists fishing, particularly if their diving behaviour can be predicted at certain times of the day.

“In places such as Palau, which relies heavily on marine tourism and where sharks are a major tourist attraction, the fishing of a few dozen sharks from popular dive sites could have a very negative impact on the national economy,” Gabriel says.

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/sharks-affected-by-full-moon.htm

130218132355-large
Called the “Genesis Rock,” this lunar sample of unbrecciated anorthosite collected during the Apollo 15 mission was thought to be a piece of the moon’s primordial crust. In a paper published online Feb. 17 in Nature Geoscience, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues report that traces of water were found in the rock. (Credit: Photo courtesy of NASA/Johnson Space Center)

Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues.

The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there was not substantially lost during the moon’s formation.

The results seem to contradict the predominant lunar formation theory — that the moon was formed from debris generated during a giant impact between Earth and another planetary body, approximately the size of Mars, according to U-M’s Youxue Zhang and his colleagues.

“Because these are some of the oldest rocks from the moon, the water is inferred to have been in the moon when it formed,” Zhang said. “That is somewhat difficult to explain with the current popular moon-formation model, in which the moon formed by collecting the hot ejecta as the result of a super-giant impact of a martian-size body with the proto-Earth.

“Under that model, the hot ejecta should have been degassed almost completely, eliminating all water.”

A paper titled “Water in lunar anorthosites and evidence for a wet early moon” was published online Feb. 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience. The first author is Hejiu Hui, postdoctoral research associate of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences at the University of Notre Dame. Hui received a doctorate at U-M under Zhang, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and one of three co-authors of the Nature Geoscience paper.

Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new lab measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.

In 2008, laboratory measurement of Apollo lunar samples by ion microprobe detected indigenous hydrogen, inferred to be the water-related chemical species hydroxyl, in lunar volcanic glasses. In 2009, NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing satellite, known as LCROSS, slammed into a permanently shadowed lunar crater and ejected a plume of material that was surprisingly rich in water ice.

Hydroxyls have also been detected in other volcanic rocks and in the lunar regolith, the layer of fine powder and rock fragments that coats the lunar surface. Hydroxyls, which consist of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen, were also detected in the lunar anorthosite study reported in Nature Geoscience.

In the latest work, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy was used to analyze the water content in grains of plagioclase feldspar from lunar anorthosites, highland rocks composed of more than 90 percent plagioclase. The bright-colored highlands rocks are thought to have formed early in the moon’s history when plagioclase crystallized from a magma ocean and floated to the surface.

The infrared spectroscopy work, which was conducted at Zhang’s U-M lab and co-author Anne Peslier’s lab, detected about 6 parts per million of water in the lunar anorthosites.

“The surprise discovery of this work is that in lunar rocks, even in nominally water-free minerals such as plagioclase feldspar, the water content can be detected,” said Zhang, the James R. O’Neil Collegiate Professor of Geological Sciences.

“It’s not ‘liquid’ water that was measured during these studies but hydroxyl groups distributed within the mineral grain,” said Notre Dame’s Hui. “We are able to detect those hydroxyl groups in the crystalline structure of the Apollo samples.”

The hydroxyl groups the team detected are evidence that the lunar interior contained significant water during the moon’s early molten state, before the crust solidified, and may have played a key role in the development of lunar basalts.

“The presence of water,” said Hui, “could imply a more prolonged solidification of the lunar magma ocean than the once-popular anhydrous moon scenario suggests.”

The researchers analyzed grains from ferroan anorthosites 15415 and 60015, as well as troctolite 76535. Ferroan anorthosite 15415 is one the best known rocks of the Apollo collection and is popularly called the Genesis Rock because the astronauts thought they had a piece of the moon’s primordial crust. It was collected on the rim of Apur Crater during the Apollo 15 mission.

Rock 60015 is highly shocked ferroan anorthosite collected near the lunar module during the Apollo 16 mission. Troctolite 76535 is a coarse-grained plutonic rock collected during the Apollo 17 mission.

Co-author Peslier is at Jacobs Technology and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The fourth author of the Nature Geoscience paper, Clive Neal, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences at the University of Notre Dame. The work was supported by NASA.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218132355.htm