NASA's giant leap back to the Moon has begun with two missions launched together on the same rocket. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is providing the highest resolution images of the lunar surface yet, while the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite will slam into the lunar south pole in an effort to expose some of the water-ice that is believed to exist in permanently shadowed craters there. Emily Baldwin has the low-down on this double-pronged attack of exploration on our nearest neighbour. In the latter half of the Focus Keith Cooper learns how to put what we've learnt about driving rovers on Mars to good use on the Moon, and our expert observer Martin Mobberley explains what the Moon has to offer during the IYA/SPA Autumn Moonwatch.
Elsewhere, David Powell speaks to world famous physicist and author Michio Kaku about how the Universe began, and where it will end; Neil English meets two legendary British telescope inventors John Wall and Peter Wise and their latest invention, the Zerochromat; Keith Cooper gets a sneak preview from photographer Max Alexander of his new portrait exhibition 'Explorers of the Universe' before it goes on display at the Royal Albert Hall and Martin Mobberley serves up a feast of planetary filters.
In our regular features Carole Stott meets of some of the robotic spacecraft exploring the Solar System in Starting from Scratch, Jeremy Perez guides you through the process of astronomical sketching in Drawn to the Universe and Olly Penrice introduces his five-inch apo-based imaging set-up in Gearheads. All this plus Tech talk, Ask Alan, news, extensive book and equipment reviews, and society listings.