4 July 2009
I was completely delinquent about reporting this due to the craziness that was my June, but the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter launched on June 18 and has arrived at the moon and is already returning data. As a Mars scientist that is amazing to me. If it were a Mars probe, there would be ~7 months between launch and orbital insertion, but with the moon, it only takes a few days. Last I heard they are still refining the orbit, but the pictures from LROC, the high resolution camera (similar to the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars) are spectacular, and they will only get better. And remember, since LRO is at the moon rather than at Mars, it is going to be blasting data back to earth through a firehose rather than a straw. Many hundreds of gigabits per day! I think this mission is going to do a lot to bring the Moon back into the spotlight.