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mission to dark side of moon by 2016?

mission to dark side of moon by 2016?Lockheed Martin engineers want to send astronauts into stationary orbit above the dark side of the Moon, according to recent article at www.dailymail.co.uk. The orbit attained with the combined gravity of the Earth and Moon at the second LaGrange point, making a stable synchronized orbit above the far side possible. This is the L-2 designation. They intend to use remote controlled rovers to probe the South Pole-Aitken basin. A second goal is deployment of a low-frequency radio telescope shielded from the Earth's radio noise. The six month mission would also measure the endurance of astronauts and equipment to space radiation as a warm up for a trip to Mars. The aerospace giant is selling its L-2 Farside Mission Orion (pdf) spacecraft as the right vehicle for the job. The mission could take place as early as 2016 with NASA's approval.

The South Pole-Aitken basin is one of the oldest, largest and deepest basins on the lunar surface. Scientists are interested in obtaining rock samples at the bottom of the basin in hopes of learning more about the moon's history and formation.

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