Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Japan's Lunar Satellite To Launch In September

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After a brief delay, it looks as if the samurai nation's lunar satellite will finally take its place among the heavens next month.

Scheduled for launch on September 13th, the SELENE orbiter could enlighten our species by providing detailed images of the lunar surface.

(International Herald Tribune) The SELENE project is the largest lunar mission since the U.S. Apollo program in terms of overall scope and ambition, outpacing the former Soviet Union's Luna program and NASA's Clementine and Lunar Prospector projects, Oshima said.

It involves placing the main satellite in orbit at an altitude of about 100 kilometers (60 miles) and deploying the two smaller satellites in polar orbits.

Mapping the moon would give the Japanese an edge over their American, European and Chinese neighbors by allowing them to locate the best landing sites, especially those suspected of harboring helium 3.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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