. Exploring the Moon surface

Apollo 13: Houston, We've Got a Problem

NoteApollo 13: Houston, We've Got a Problem - National Archives and Records Administration - ARC Identifier 1155023 / Local Identifier 255-HQa-200 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (10/01/1958 - ). This film depicts attempts to return the crewmen of the Apollo 13 mission safely to earth following an explosion on-board the service module. The film emphasizes the Mission Control and spacecraft teamwork that overcame the life-or-death problems of Apollo 13, as well as the worldwide reaction to the crisis.





Distance from Earth is 384,400 km (238,855 miles) . Its Orbit Period is 27.32 Earth days . Its Orbit Eccentricity is 0.05490 orbit (Circular Orbit = 0) . The inclination to Ecliptic is 5.145 degree (deg), of Equator to orbit is 6.68 deg . Its rotation period is 27.32 Earth days . Equatorial radius is 1,737.4 km (1,079.6 mi) . Mass is 0.0123 of Earth's . Density is 3.341 g/cm3 (0.61 of Earth's) . Gravity is 0.166 of Earth's . The temperature range between (Max) 110 °C/230 °F and -170 °C/-274 °F.

The Moon was first visited by the U.S.S.R.’s Luna 1 and 2 in 1959, and a number of U.S. and U.S.S.R. robotic spacecraft followed.The U.S. sent three classes of robotic missions to prepare the way for human exploration: the Rangers (1961–1965) were impact probes, the Lunar Orbiters (1966–1967) mapped the surface to find landing sites, and the Surveyors (1966–1968) were soft landers.

The first human landing on the Moon was on July 20, 1969. During the Apollo missions of 1969–1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the Moon and used a Lunar Roving Vehicle to travel on the surface and extend their studies of soil mechanics, meteoroids, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar wind. The Apollo astronauts brought back 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rock and soil to Earth for study.


Astrobotic is contracting payloads to Trans-Lunar Insertion (TLI), Lunar Orbit, and Surface on the Moon at Lacus Mortis for theirFirst Mission . 


Already very prolific launcher of payloads in space with its Atlas and Delta families, United Launch Alliance (ULA) wants the Moon more accessible for every one. It will be not easy, but very, very possible because its determination and skills are there.

The cis-lunar econosphere is a territory that includes trade routes of business between LEO and GEO orbits, Lunar orbit, Earth/Moon Lagrange Points, and near Earth objects (NEO). 

New Vulcan. Credit: ULA

ISPACE - Expand our planet. Expand our future.

Japan-based lunar exploration company ispace, inc. raises $90.2 million to be used for development of lunar lander and two lunar missions by 2020.

ISPACE has already started the development of its small, agile and modular lunar lander. The main goal is to provide a regular transportation service to the Moon.

ROSCOMOS gives OK to LUNA-25

The Russian Luna-Glob mission, currently scheduled for launch in the mid-2020s, will study the physical conditions and composition of the regolith near the lunar south pole, as well as test new soft-landing technologies. The engineering constraints for the mission require that potential landing sites lie between 70-85°S and 0-60°E, and Boguslawsky crater fits the bill and was selected as the primary target.


Private space companies are on the starting line to develop the Moon's resources. Some such as Shackleton Energy Company, have big and precise plans to do it.

To establish fuel stations in orbit, many problems must first be solved. It is necessary to have orbital corridors clear of space junks, efficient satellites robotic servicing, many orbital and lunar hotels and Research labs. To be more independent from the Earth, we also have to be able to manufacture materials and built structures in gravity, and mine asteroids.

Shackleton Energy Fuel Depot. Credits: Boeing and Shackleton Energy


Because all missions of Moon Express start in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), its MX spacecrafts have to be launched there by rockets. In order to reach this orbit, the company has signed a contract for 5 launches with Rocket Lab USA, scheduled to start in 2018.

The China Chang'e-4 mission to the Moon will be Historical!

For the first time a country will land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon! Chang'e-4 will be the fourth mission in its series named after the Chinese moon goddess.

The two-part missions of Chang'e-4 will focusing on the low-frequency astronomy and the investigation of the subsurface, the topography and the mineralogical composition of the lunar far side.

The Chinese  Chang'e-5 mission will return samples from the Moon

Since the Apollo's missions, China will be the first to return to Earth, samples from the near side of the Moon. That will be the mission of Chang'e-5, scheduled for November 2019, near Mons Rümker in Oceanus Procellarum, a large area of lunar mare in the northwest region of the Moon.

Chang’e-5 is China’s first lunar sample return mission and the most ambitious endeavor in the country’s lunar program, aiming to introduce new technologies and techniques such as a fully-automated rendezvous in lunar orbit and sample transfers in between different spacecraft modules. 

Scientists work on China's Chang'e-5 landing and ascent vehicles. Credit: Framegrab/CCTV

The Indian Chandrayan-2 spacecraft is ready for the Moon

Chandrayaan-2 is an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) trivia mission including an orbiter, a soft lander and a rover. Previously scheduled for April 2018, the lift off has been delayed to October 2018 aboard the ISRO's rocket GSLV Mark 2, or equivalent.

Its primary mission objective is to do a soft-land on the lunar surface at the South Polar region, situated between the 65° and 90° latitudes, and operate a robotic rover.


Pit crater/lava tubes - 33.22°E, 8.336°N - Mare Tranquillitatis

Lunar pit craters are small, steep-walled collapse features that suggest subsurface voids. Over 200 pit craters are located in impact melt and are relatively shallow, at about 10 m. However, 10 pits are located in mare highland units and are much deeper, in a range of about 10 to 40 m. These pits may have lava tubes of unknown lateral extent. For those in non-mare impact melt, they may have networks of sub-lunar tubes. 

Five of many LROC Narrow Angle Cameras (NACs) showhigh resolution views of the increasingly famous "Mare Pit Crater" in the Sea of Tranquillitatis.

The Aristarchus plateau - 50°W, 25°N

Aristarchus crater is located on the edge of the Aristarchus Plateau, one of the most geologically interesting regions of the Moon. It is a complex crater of 40 km wide, 3.5 km deep, that has been formed about 175 millions years ago. The impact straddled the boundary of the plateau and the surrounding mare, thus excavating both very different rock types, as well as underlying crustal rocks.

West wall of Aristarchus crater seen obliquely by the LROC NACs from an altitude of only 26 km. Scene is about 12 km wide at the base. Image NAC M175569775. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

The Orientale basin - 95°W, 20°S

The Orientale multi-ring basin is the largest lunar impact structure

In fact, it is the most prominent and best preserved. Located on the western limb of the nearside, Orientale contains at least four ring structures encompassing a diameter of 930 km making it one of the largest lunar impact structures. Relative ageing suggests Orientale is the youngest basin with an estimated age of 3.82 Ga (Wilhelms, 1987).

At the right,an oblique view of the interior of the Orientale basin. NAC images M1124173129L & R, image centered at 24.23°S, 264.30°E, scene width is approximately 16 km and the cliff at center is 1.7 km high Credit:[NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The Schrödinger basin - 135°E, 75°S

Second youngest large basin on the Moon, the Schrödinger impact basin include variety of geologic features available that could be interesting for future exploration. Often, boulders in Schrödinger come from regions that are not easily accessible by robotic equipment or humans. The above image highlights a distribution of boulders near the base of a part of the central peak ring, located at 77.196°S and 133.178°E.

Located near the South Pole on the lunar far side, it is the second youngest impact basin (after Orientale) and, thus, remains well exposed for scientific study. Schrödinger intersects the pre-Nectarian Amundsen-Gainswindt basin (AG), as well as the inner rings of the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin.

Dozens of boulders, ranging from 10 m to more than 30 m in diameter, are distributed within an ejecta ray close to the crater rim (lower right). These boulders represent the deepest material excavated during crater formation. LROC NAC M159013302LR, image width is ~850 m [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Tycho crater is one of the most visible and important craters on the Moon due to its extensive, bright ray system.

Other Moon landing sites considered


. South Pole - Aitken Basin - 170°W, 53°S

. Gruithuisen Domes - 36.5°N, 40.2°W

. Moscoviense - 147°E, 26°N

. Rima Bode - 3.5°W, 12°N

. The potential for volatiles in the Intercrater Highlands of the lunar North Pole