Astronomers bounced a laser off a spacecraft whirling around the moon

For the first time, scientists have successfully bounced a laser off a mirror that’s attached to a spacecraft whirling around the moon.

Bouncing lasers off mirrors on the lunar surface is an old trick. Astronauts walking on the moon first left reflectors behind in 1969. And since then, researchers have bounced lasers off those reflectors to make precise measurements of the distance between the moon and Earth, using the speed of light and the time it takes for the laser beam to return to Earth.

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