A tiny NASA spacecraft launches to check out a brand new orbit across the Moon

An inventive rendering of CAPSTONE in orbit across the Moon | Picture: NASA

Early this morning, a small NASA spacecraft in regards to the dimension of a microwave launched into the start of a four-month-long journey to the Moon, the place it’s going to finally insert itself into a novel, elongated lunar orbit that no NASA mission has visited earlier than. The spacecraft’s objective is straightforward: check out this explicit orbit and see what it’s like. That’s as a result of it’s the identical orbit that lunar-bound astronauts may use within the coming decade.

This distinctive orbit known as “close to rectilinear halo orbit,” or NRHO for brief. It’s a particular seven-day path that spacecraft can take across the Moon, bringing autos comparatively near the lunar floor for in the future earlier than they swing out removed from the Moon for the opposite six.

NASA is contemplating…

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