An Indian spaceship carries the first reflectors left on the moon since the Apollo era.
The reflectors, part of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) mission Chandrayaan-2, which was launched earlier this week, represents the next generation of an experiment that began in 1969.
50 years ago (and a few days ago) the Apollo 11 astronauts left the Moon Laser Ranging Experiment on the Moon. The experiment contained a shell of 100 small prisms that scientists on Earth would shoot down with laser beams. Astronauts on Apollo 14 and 15 followed suit and left more of these prisms known as retroreflectors on the moon. Incredible decades later, these reflectors remain active experiments .
Related: Why does the Apollo Reflector Experiment still work 50 years later?
Burning Lasers At these reflectors, scientists on Earth observe the time it takes for the laser to return and then study the distance between the Moon and Earth. In this way, scientists can measure and analyze the orbit, rotation, orientation and relationship of the moon to the earth. So far, these experiments have not only improved the scientists' understanding of how the moon moves and how far we are from it, but also provided evidence that the moon has a liquid nucleus .
Although these decades-old experiments continue to work and provide scientists with accurate and useful data, the reflectors will soon be upgraded. A team led by Principal Investigator Doug Currie, a senior scientist and professor at the University of Maryland, who was a key member of the team designing the original Apollo reflectors, has developed a new laser retroreflector array that was developed at the Moon should land. The new reflector, developed in collaboration with Co-Principal Investigator Simone Dell & # 39; Agnello, a senior technologist at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics ̵