The celebrations of forty years since the Apollo 11 moon landing are heating up and now we have a new moon mission on its way. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter took off from Cape Canaveral on Thursday and will photograph the lunar surface in higher resolution than ever before. Images with a resolution of 1 m should be able to pick out equipment left behind at the old Apollo sites, including the LEM descent stages. The conspiracy theorists can work out their own version of these images we’re sure.
The LRO will also laser map the Moon and look for signs of water ice in permanently shadowed craters. A companion spacecraft, launched on the same booster, called LCROSS, will crash land in one of those craters in an attempt to kick up some of the buried ice that may be buried there.
There is more information and regular updates at the LRO website.