NASA launches robotic explorer to moon from Va.; trouble develops early in much-viewed flight

  • Article by: MARCIA DUNN , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 7, 2013 - 5:00 PM

NASA's newest robotic explorer rocketed into space late Friday in an unprecedented moonshot from Virginia that dazzled sky watchers along the East Coast.

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joe_mnSep. 7, 13 7:25 AM

lazer communications? how do they do it on startrek?

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monkeyplanetSep. 7, 13 7:54 AM

Some progress. We sent human beings to the moon between 1968 and 1972 with little more than slide rules and long division. Now, apparently, it's questionable whether we can send an unmanned probe to the same destination without a major malfunction.

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edinawaterSep. 7, 1310:25 AM

monkeyplanet, each of the Apollo missions cost an order of magnitude more than this mission and the Apollo missions had plenty of malfunctions. Neil Armstrong's historic landing during Apollo 11 was nearly aborted when an alarm sounded during descent. The astronauts on Apollo 13 barely survived. During the Apollo 15 EVA Jim Irwin suffered dehydration because his water line kinked up.

The quirk reported in this story is minor in comparison. The probe is spinning faster than planned. They can burn a small amount of fuel to slow it down. Being frugal with fuel they are working out the optimal way to do that.

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