Lunar capsule returning to Earth

Lunar capsule returning to Earth

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lunar capsule returning to Earth. Computer artwork of the capsule that will carry 4 NASA astronauts to the Moon, returning to Earth. Before re-entry the spacecraft's service module is jettisoned, exposing the heat shield (yellow). Parachutes (only parachute lines seen) slow the capsule down as it falls to Earth. Unlike previous missions the capsule, which can be re-used up to 10 times, will land on dry land. NASA's plans to send manned missions to explore the Moon's surface were announced on 19 September 2005. The first mission is scheduled for 2018. The program is predicted to cost $104 billion. The last Moon landing was NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

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