General, Research, Technology

NASA wants to send mini rovers to the moon

If you always dreamed of a miniaturea research robot, then NASA is definitely worth listening to. The fact is that representatives of the space agency count on the interest of the general public, as they intend to present their projects of miniature rovers that can be used to explore the moon. In the past few years, more and more countries have announced their plans to develop a satellite of our planet. So, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin announced plans to build a lunar base, NASA intends to return astronauts to Earth’s satellite, and China wants to build a research base on the moon. But since all of the above are far-reaching plans, it is necessary to explore the Moon and miniature rovers as closely as possible - an ideal way to do this.

I think you and I were lucky to live in the era of man’s return to the moon

NASA's New Moon Exploration Program Artemis

Last year, the Donald Trump administration gaveinstructions to expedite the mission and land on the moon four years earlier than the original date - from 2028 to 2024. The future mission was named Artemis - in honor of the moon goddess Artemis, twin sisterApollo. As part of the new program, NASA will send a team of astronauts to the satellite of our planet, and 11 companies will help the agency with the development of the program, including Blue Origin (Washington), SpaceX (California), Boeing (Texas) and many others. Thus, the NASA manned mission has every chance of returning astronauts to the moon by the deadline set by the government. My colleague Daria Yeletskaya spoke in detail about how to become a NASA astronaut in her article.

As conceived by scientists, miniature rovers can help create a long-term base on the lunar surface. But how?

What is the difference moon rover from rover? Essentially nothing. These words can be considered synonyms. Speaking this or that word, we are always talking about an apparatus capable of performing some kind of action on the surface of satellites or other planets

As planned by experts, future astronauts shouldto be able to find and collect lunar resources, and then recycle them into basic necessities: breathable air, drinking water and food production, building shelters, rocket fuel, and much more. It is logical that the capabilities of the mission will expand greatly when useful and vital resources can be created from local sources. Another reason for sending robotic vehicles to the moon is the high cost of replenishment for astronauts. That is why the priority today is a reasonable assessment of the definition and use of lunar resources. And then miniature rovers will begin to work.

This is interesting: the moon can help in the search for aliens

What are miniature rovers for?

Placing a permanent base on the moon can become a platform for sending a person to Mars

I think it's no secret that NASA is alreadyis engaged in the creation of a full-size VIPER rover, which is able to search for water on the moon. However, this rover is gigantic and heavy, so it needs quite a bit of energy to function. But smaller rovers, the size of a box of juice, can perform identical functions, such as mapping, as well as carry out reconnaissance missions. One way or another, further exploration of the Moon and its environs will in any case require instruments of all shapes and sizes - from wide orbital vehicles to very small rovers. Moreover, as noted in an official press release, Sabah Bucks, a technologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, miniature rovers will help in the development of applied sciences for additional research and research.

Read even more fascinating articles on the development of the Moon and other planets of the Solar system on our Yandex.Zen channel

In preparation for the Artemis lab missionNASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) announced a tender to develop miniature cargo for future lunar missions. The task, “Honey, I have reduced the NASA payload,” is to search for instrument designs that can help maintain a person’s constant presence on Earth’s satellite, demonstrate and promote the use of resources discovered on the moon, and create new sciences. The main challenge today is to design a rover, the maximum size of which will not exceed 100 mm x 100 mm x 50 mm.

These tiny robots will provide flexibility.missions and collect key information about the surface of the moon, its resources and the environment. The data collected will be useful for future lunar missions and the Artemis program, according to a press release on the NASA website.

Thus, agency representatives expectthis interesting task - the construction of a miniature robot - will be followed by a series of contests for the creation of a prototype, testing and delivery of miniature payloads. All participants will have the opportunity to win prizes of $ 160,000 in several categories. JPL is partnering with NASA Tournament Lab to complete the task on the heroX crowdsourcing platform. Applications are accepted until June 1, 2020. Well, are you ready to try your hand?