Category Archives: The Moon

Video: “How to Draw the Lunar Lander”

Artist Stanley Von Medvey shows how to draw the Apollo lunar lander:

If you prefer to build a model of the lander, here are some paper model guides for download:

Here’s a 1960s era NASA fact sheet for the Lunar Module (pdf).

And a simulator: Eagle Lander 3D (EL3D)

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Aoshima Apollo Lunar Module Eagle-5 Model Kit

‘First Women on the Moon’ 2019 Essay Contest

The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and the Moon Village Association (MVA) are sponsoring the

‘FIRST WOMEN ON THE MOON’ 2019 ESSAY CONTEST
200-Word Submission Due 10 October 2019

2019 FWotM Essay Contest Announcement

Grand Prize: All-expenses-paid participation at ILOA Galaxy Forum China: Hainan, 25-28 February 2020 provided by ILOA
And one-on-one Astronaut briefing(s) provided by the Moon Village Association

Introduction: Working to help to fulfill the Apollo 11 message ‘in peace for all’, ILOA and MVA are sponsoring the 2019 First Women on the Moon Essay Contest. Only 63 women have been to space, and of the 12 Moonwalkers, all have been men. The first step toward realizing a future where peoples of varied genders, geographies and generations live off-planet may begin with The First Women on the Moon.

Grand Prize: Winner will attend all sessions, ceremonies and activities at ILOA Galaxy Forum China 2020, Hainan 25-28 February, and participate in the “First Women on the Moon” special luncheon panel featuring invited Astronauts Soyeon Yi, Naoko Yamazaki, other women Astronauts from China and USA (TBD); and potentially an Apollo Moonwalker. Direct purchase by ILOA will cover round-trip regular class airline travel to Hainan Island, hotel accommodation at Hilton Wenchang, Galaxy Forum registration fee and meals. Reimbursement for reasonable traveling incidentals such as meals at airports and ground transportation will be covered. Reimbursement for passport and visa, and expedited fees, will also be provided, if necessary.

MVA will provide direct, one-on-one Astronaut briefing(s) for a total of up to 3 hours with the winner, by skype or in person, at a date to be mutually agreed, to answer questions they may have about living and working in space, and perhaps one day on the Moon.

How to enter: Visit www.galaxyforum.org and use the online form to describe the significance of the First Women landing on the Moon, and why you would like to be one of the First Women on the Moon –  in 200 words or less. Submit your essay with your full name, age, mailing address, and telephone number.

Optional graphic: Contestants are encouraged, but not required, to submit an original drawing, photograph, or image of any size to support their essay. Please do not submit any copyrighted or other intellectual property materials.

Deadline: All entries due by 10 October 2019 at 12:00 Hawaii Standard Time (UTC-10).

Eligibility: Contest is open to all women 21 years of age or older by 25 February 2019, from any country, nation, continent, background and ability. English is the main language of Galaxy Forum China, Hainan, therefore we ask for essays to be submitted in English. Contestant must already have or be eligible to receive a Passport and a Visa to travel to Hainan, China for 25-28 February 2020.

Galaxy Forum Hainan 2020 – China: Developing program and details for Galaxy Forum China 2020 may be found here: https://galaxyforum.org/galaxy-forum-china-2020-hainan/

Further information and contact: Please visit the websites for International Lunar Observatory Association, Galaxy Forum, or Moon Village Association.

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See also the update on the winner and other entrants for the 2018 ‘First Women on the Moon’ Essay Contest.

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Galaxy Girls:
50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space

Space sciences roundup – May.22.2019

A sampling of recent articles, videos, and images from space-related science news items:

** Update on China’s Chang’e-4 lunar rover:

From the Planetary Society article:

The first science results from the unprecedented Chang’e-4 lunar far side mission are in. The mission’s Yutu-2 rover, deployed from the lander shortly after the Chang’e-4 landing on 3 January, has, with the help of the Queqiao relay satellite, returned data which suggests it has discovered material derived from the Moon’s mantle, according to research published today in Nature. The possibility of accessing mantle rocks exposed within an enormous impact basin was a major reason for attempting the challenging farside landing.

The Visible and Near Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS) aboard Yutu-2 made the first in situ observations—detecting scattered or reflected light from surface materials—on the lunar far side. These spectra have been interpreted by the paper’s authors to represent the presence of olivine and low-calcium pyroxene, materials that may originate from the Moon’s mantle.

Yutu-2 VNIS exploration area
VNIS payload and observation footprint – Yutu-2’s Visible and Yutu-2 rover’s Near Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS) measures an area a few centimeters across. Credits: Chunlai Li et al via Planetary Society

** SpaceIL‘s Beresheet lunar vehicle makes a mark on the Moon:

Lunar surface before/after Beresheet impact
Lunar surface before/after Beresheet impact. Planetary Society: “Left: Beresheet impact site as seen by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on 22 April 2019. Right: An image processed to highlight changes near the landing site among photos taken before and after the landing, revealing a white impact halo. Other craters are visible in the right image because there is a slight change in lighting conditions among the before and after images. Scale bar is 100 meters. North is up. Both panels are 490 meters wide.”

** Greek high school student team flies experiment on the Blue Origin New Shepard: ACS Athens STEAM Experiment Blasts off into Space with Blue Origin Rocket – The National Herald

How will Greek honey and olive oil behave under microgravity conditions? What about ouzo and grape juice molasses? Will bubbles grow bigger and last longer? ACS Athens students sealed their experiment within the capsule carried by the groundbreaking Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable rocket where it will tested at an altitude of 100 km.

ACS Athens High School students are conducting one complex STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) experiment, investigating how honey behaves at an altitude of 100 km. ACS Athens is one of the three non-US-based K-12 schools to have ever sent an experiment with Blue Origin

More about the team’s experiments: ACS Athens | Modeling education for the 21st Century

  • spACS 1 scientific goal is to investigate the viscosity of honey under microgravity conditions, a Physics-based experiment on fluidity. 
  • spACS 2, which won the first place in the Hellenic Physical Society’s 1st aerospace contest (November 2018), combines Physics, Chemistry, and Biology to investigate the behavior of foams and emulsions under microgravity conditions focusing on Greek traditional products (olive oil, ouzo, petimezi). 

** Update on OSIRIS-REx at the Bennu asteroid: Here’s a Roundup of Recent OSIRIS-REx Postcards from Bennu | The Planetary Society

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is continuing to chug along at asteroid Bennu. It’s currently sweeping arcs between the asteroid’s north and south poles, gathering scientific data that will also be used to select 12 possible sites for sample collection. The OSIRIS-REx team has also been releasing stunning new images from the mission’s prior phase.

More about the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and mission:

** Examining the rough plains of the Marineris Valles: The floor of Marineris Valles | Behind The Black

The photograph, uncaptioned, is titled “Terminus of Pitted Materials Emanating from Oudemans Crater.” Oudemans Crater is about 55 miles across and is located near the head of Marineris Valles to the east of the giant volcanic region dubbed the Tharsis Bulge. The meteorite that caused this crater is estimated to have been a little less than 3 miles in diameter. It is believed by some scientists that the impact heated up subsurface carbon dioxide permafrost which then explosively flooded down the Valles Marineris into the Northern Plains of Mars, pushing a lot of pulverized debris in front of it.

A section of the floor of Marineris Valles.
A section of the floor of Marineris Valles. Credits: MRO/HiRISE via Bob Zimmerman

** NASA’s Curiosity Finds Climate Clues on a Martian Mountain – A brief update on Curiosity’s travels:

After spending the better part of a year exploring Mars’ Vera Rubin Ridge, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has moved to a new part of Mount Sharp. Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada gives a tour of the rover’s new home in the “clay unit,” as well as other areas scientists are excited to visit. Find out what they could tell us about watery ancient Mars versus the dry Red Planet we see today.

** Charon, Pluto’s Companion: What We Learned from New Horizons – Dr. Ross Beyer (SETI Institute) gave this recent public lecture in the Silicon Valley Astronomy Series:

Pluto’s large moon Charon turned out to be far more interesting than astronomers expected. Pluto was the star of the New Horizons show, but the features on Charon’s surface tell a fascinating tale of how icy worlds could form far from the gravitational influences of the giant planets. There is evidence of a world-wide sub-surface ocean early on, and of global expansion as that ocean froze solid. Dr. Beyer is your expert (and humorous) guide through this story of formation and change in the frozen reaches of the outer Solar System.

** Dr. Linda Spilker spoke about the latest findings from the Cassini Mission data, “new information on Saturn’s ring system, Titan, Enceladus, liquid methane oceans, life, NASA missions and more” – The Space Show – Friday, 05/17/2019

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Chasing New Horizons:
Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

SpaceIL diagnosing landing failure and planning for next lunar mission

The attempt by SpaceIL, a private non-profit organization, to land the Beresheet craft softly on the Moon last week went awry just a few minutes before it was to set down onto the surface. Initial results of an investigation into what went wrong were released today:

See also:

** Final image taken by Beresheet released:

** Planning for a second Beresheet mission is now underway:

More at

** SpaceIL member participated in an Ask Me Anything session on reddit this week: Hi, my name is Ben Nathaniel, I work on the team of Beresheet, the spacecraft that Israel sent to the Moon on April 11 (as you may know the landing didn’t go so well). Ask Me Anything. – space/reddit.com.

** A vast knowledge database on Beresheet may have survived the crash: There may be a copy of Wikipedia somewhere on the moon. Here’s how to help find it – Mashable.com

The Arch Lunar Library contains 100GB, or 30 million pages of text and pictures, literally embedded in 25 nickel disks in the tiniest type you can possibly imagine. You don’t need anything more specialized than a microscope to read it, and the etchings should survive for billions of years. 

This library was supposed to be delivered to the surface of the moon — specifically, the Sea of Serenity — by Israel’s Beresheet Mission last week. The bad news: After a glitch that turned its engine off and on again at the worst possible moment, the Beresheet lander smashed into the moon at 300 miles per hour.

The good news: Those disks were designed to be indestructible. And the Arch Foundation is all but certain its payload survived the crash.

“We have either installed the first library on the moon,” says Arch Mission co-founder Nova Spivack, “or we have installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon.”

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First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience

Webcast: SpaceIL to land Beresheet on the Moon today [Update]

[ Update 2: The final image returned from Beresheet as it came down the lunar surface:

Update 3:30 pm EDT: Unfortunately, Beresheet failed to make a soft landing. The descent was going as planned but then the main engine cut off and could not be restarted before it was too late.

The good news is that a low-cost privately funded and designed lunar project successfully for the first time reached the Moon’s surface after successfully going into lunar orbit, also a first for a private project.

The spacecraft made a selfie made during the descent:

]

Today Israel’s SpaceIL team plans to send the Beresheet (which translates to “genesis” or “in the beginning”) spacecraft from its orbit around the Moon down to the surface for a soft (we hope) landing. The de-orbit operation will start at 22:05 Israeli time (UTC+03:00) or 04:05 in Tokyo, 05:05 in Sydney,12:05 in Los Angeles, 14:05 in Mexico City, 15:05 in New York, 16:05 in Rio, 20:05 in London, 21:05 in Paris. The landing should happen about 20 minutes later.

A live webcast of the landing will begin about 20 minutes before de-orbiting begins:

Updates are available at Israel To The Moon (@TeamSpaceIL) | Twitter.

Here is a SpaceIL video about the landing:

More info at

The SpaceIL Beresheet spacecraft.

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First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience