Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

What's up in the solar system in March 2011

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

New crater found in LROC image from the Moon

This news is no surprise, but I think it's the first such discovery I've heard of: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team has identified a new crater on the Moon, one that wasn't there when Apollo 15 flew over.

A bull's eye on the Moon

Orientale is the youngest large impact basin on the Moon, which means that very little of it has been obliterated by later impacts.

Lunokhod found on the Moon -- and on Earth, too

Yesterday I posted a bit of a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera image showing the tracks of the Russian Lunokhod 2 rover. Today, I can post for you an image showing the rover's final resting place

And now for Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1

I am delighted to report that within a day of the first view of Luna 21 and Lunokhod 2 since the end of that mission in 1973, the sister mission, Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1, has also been found.

LPSC: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter results

A week later and I am finally getting to the mountains of notes I took on Moon-related talks I saw at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) held in Houston last week.

Gorgeous high-res image of the Apollo 17 landing site

The LROC team posted today a new image of the Apollo 17 landing site, captured after Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter had gotten in to its 50-kilometer mapping orbit, so this is much more detailed than the previous view.

LROC nabs image of the Apollo 14 S-IVB impact site

As a reminder that we've been crashing stuff into the Moon for decades, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team released today a photo of the crater made by the spent upper stage of the Saturn rocket that lofted the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon.

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