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Man, on the Moon

Astronomer Harlan Spence on the plans for long-term space study


During the first decade of the 21st century, NASA is seeking opportunities for man to boldly go where he has gone before: back to the moon. But this time, researchers are hoping for a longer-term stay.

In October 2008, NASA plans to launch the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a satellite that will orbit the moon for two years collecting information intended to help establish a sustainable human presence on the moon. One of the instruments that will be used to collect the data is CRaTER (Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation), developed at BU by a team assembled by Harlan Spence (CAS’83), a College of Arts and Sciences professor of astronomy.

CRaTER is one of two LRO instruments responsible for collecting data on the moon’s radiation environment, a crucial factor in determining what kind of long-term health effects astronauts might undergo living on the moon for an extended period of time. CRaTER will launch with a substance called tissue-equivalent plastic (TEP), which absorbs energy (and radiation) the same way as human tissue would. The data collected by CRaTER will allow Spence and his team members a first inkling of what life on the moon might do to the human body.

For more information on CRaTER, visit http://crater.bu.edu/. For more information on LRO, visit http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

Devin Hahn can be reached at dhahn@bu.edu.


One Comment on Man, on the Moon

  • Anonymous on 02.07.2008 at 9:52 am

    Sounds good to me.

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