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THE MOON"with the history of the early solar system etched on it beckons mankind from time immemorial to admire its marvels and discover its secrets. Understanding the moon provides a pathway to unravel the early evolution of the solar system and that of the planet earth.
Through the ages, the Moon, our closest celestial body has aroused curiosity in our mind much more than any other objects in the sky. This led to scientific study of the Moon, driven by human desire and quest for knowledge. This is also reflected in the ancient verse.
Exploration of the moon got a boost with the advent of the space age and the decades of sixties and seventies saw a myriad of successful unmanned and manned missions to moon. This was followed by a hiatus of about one and a half-decade. During this period we refined our knowledge about the origin and evolution of the moon and its place as a link to understand the early history of the Solar System and of the earth.
However, new questions about lunar evolution also emerged and new possibilities of using the moon as a platform for further exploration of the solar system and beyond were formulated. Moon again became the prime target for exploration and a new renaissance of rejuvenated interest dawned. All the major space faring nations of the world started planning missions to explore the moon and also to utilize moon as a potential base for space exploration.
Best Space Finds Of 2009
2 A new computer model has suggested that the outer crusts of so-called neutron stars are ten billion times stronger than steel, and is in fact, the strongest known material in the universe.
3 Another space discovery of the yr is that Jupiter's moon Europa may harbor fish-sized life in its oceans. A provocative new research suggested that the amount of oxygen in the ocean would be enough to support more than just microscopic life-forms, with at least three million tons of fishlike creatures theoretically living and breathing on Europa.
4. The discovery of 32 new planets outside our solar system, bringing the massive haul of new worlds to more than 400.
5. Another space discovery of the year is that pictures taken in summer 2008 showed strange globs on the leg of the Phoenix Mars Lander that seemed to behave like liquid water, which could be the first proof that modern Mars hosts liquid water
This substance is probably saline mud that splashed up as the craft landed; study leader and Phoenix co-investigator Nilton Renno of the University of Michigan had told National Geographic News. Salt in the mud then absorbed water vapor from the atmosphere, forming the watery drops, according to Renno.
6. This finding of Gliese 581d, the most Earthlike planet yet found, may have liquid oceans.
7. Exploration of the oldest of the subatomic particles called neutrinos might each encompass a space larger than thousands of galaxies.
8. The other space discovery of the year is that high-resolution pictures of a Martian valley revealed three-billion-year-old shorelines along what was once a body of water about the size of Lake Champlain, which is the first proof of ancient Mars lakeshores.
9. Finding of water on the Moon, when NASA crashed a two-ton rocket into a permanently shadowed crater on the moon's South Pole in October.