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For the first time, scientists have successfully bounced a laser off a mirror that's attached to a spacecraft whirling around the moon. Bouncing lasers off mirrors on the lunar surface is an old trick. Astronauts walking on the moon first left reflectors behind in 1969. And since then, researchers have bounced lasers off those reflectors to make precise measurements of the distance between the moon and the earth, using the speed of light and the time it takes for the laser beam to return to the earth. But hitting a laser in orbit around the moon is a much trickier task. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has orbited the moon with a mirror on its back since 2009. But nearly a decade went by without a single successful laser bounce. A team of researchers report the first successful laser contact: Twice on Sept. 4, 2018 and twice again between Aug. 23 and Aug. 24, 2019, technicians shot laser bursts at the LRO and saw the light return 2.5 seconds later. https://www.livescience.com/lunar-laser-bounce.html ........................................................................ #space #earth #science #technology #news
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