HOW COOL IS THIS?

Astronomers think they’ve found “Snoopy.”

A team of British astronomers believe they may have located the lunar module from NASA’s Apollo 10 mission – fifty years after the crew released the probe into a perpetual orbit around the Sun.

The lunar module is one of the greatest surviving relics of the moon landings and scientists want to devise a way to retrieve it as it orbits some 50,000ft above the lunar surface.

At the time of the mission in 1969, Tom Stafford, a member of the Apollo 10 crew radioed back to Houston from his own orbit around Moon that the crew had completely lost sight of the probe after they jettisoned it from their command module.

‘We don’t have any idea where he went. He just went boom and it disappeared right into the Sun,’ Stafford said.

The lunar module, nicknamed Snoopy, was thought to be lost forever, though the search intrigued many back on Earth who felt that one day they might be able to find this tiny needle in a cosmic haystack.

At just four meters wide, it was always going to be a long shot but Nick Howes, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, along with legendary flight controllers, space dynamics experts and astronauts from the Apollo program, have spent a number of years in a calculated hunt for the probe.

The team now believe that they may have found it and according to The Times all they need is someone with the expertise to go and retrieve it.

All the other craft that were used during the Apollo missions were either fired into the Moon for seismology experiments or jettisoned to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Snoopy, however, was used as practice run for the Apollo 11 lunar landing, which would take place two months after Apollo 10 in July 1969.

Two of the three astronauts transferred into it as it drifted nine miles above the Moon’s surface. The pair thn moved back into the command module. The mission was deemed a success.

Snoopy was fired off and left to drift in orbit around the sun forever with no realistic way to track it.

Then, eight years ago, Howes began a project to try and locate the last surviving module and managed to get astronomers from around the world to focus their telescopes on regions of the moon where he calculated it may pass though.

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