Science & Technology

NASA selects lunar landing site for ice mining lunar training

An intuitive mechanical Nova-C lander with a depiction of NASA’s Polar Resource Ice Mining Experiment-1 (PRIME-1) mounted on a lunar spacecraft. Credit: Intuitive Machines

Late 2022, NASA An ice mining experiment mounted on a robotic lander will be sent to the Moon’s South Pole on a ridge not far from the Shackleton Crater. Location engineers and scientists evaluated it over the course of several months. NASA and Intuitive Machines, a commercial distribution agency partner for the month, announced their location choices on November 3rd.

NASA data from a spacecraft orbiting the Moon indicates that this location, called the “Shackleton Connection Ridge,” may have ice beneath the surface of the water. The area is exposed to enough sunlight to carry out the mission of the lander for about 10 days, while at the same time providing a clear line of sight to the Earth for constant communication. It is also close to a small crater, making it ideal for robot excursions.

These conditions are most likely to succeed in the three tech demonstrations included. This includes NASA-funded Polar Resources Ice-Mining Experiment-1 (PRIME-1) – Consists of a drill paired with a mass spectrometer – 4G / LTE communication network developed by Nokia of America Corporation, and Micro-Nova, a deployable hopper robot developed by Intuitive Machines.

Lunar module site for intuitive mechanical Nova-C landers

A visualization of the data (the large crater on the right) showing the region near the Moon’s South Pole on a ridge not far from Shackleton was chosen as the landing site for the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander. This will give a tech demonstration under the moon. NASA’s Commercial Monthly Payload Service Initiative. The field situation is most likely to succeed in three tech demonstrations on board. Credit: NASA

Dr. Jackie Quinn, NASA’s Kennedy PRIME-1 Project Manager, said: Florida Space Center. “There is enough sunlight to power the payload, but the surface is too warm to keep the ice within the reach of the PRIME-1 drill. When exposed to enough sunlight to meet the mission requirements. At the same time, we needed to find a “Gold Rock” site, a safe place to land with good communication with the Earth. “

To select this final landing site, experts from NASA, Arizona State University, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Nokia, and Intuitive Machines used lunar remote sensing data to “ice mining” the lunar surface. I created a map.

After landing, the PRIME-1 drill, known as the Regolith Ice Drill (TRIDENT) for exploring new terrain, drills up to a depth of 3 feet to extract lunar soil called regolith and surface it for water quality analysis. To deposit on. Another instrument on the PRIME-1, the Mass Spectrometer (MSolo), which monitors the operation of the Moon, measures volatile gases that easily escape from material excavated by TRIDENT.

PRIME-1 will be the first demonstration of finding and extracting resources on the moon. Advances in these types of technologies are important to establish a robust and long-term presence in deep space, including the Moon as part of the institution. Artemis Mission. Simply manipulating the rugged lunar surface and drilling holes will provide engineers with valuable insights for future lunar missions such as the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover. Viper, Mission, it’s Landing schedule In the South Pole of the Moon in late 2023.

PRIME-1 will investigate resources under the moon, but Nokia will begin testing space-enhanced 4G / LTE networks. Developed by Lunar Outpost, the small rover adventures more than a mile away from the Nova-C lander and tests Nokia’s wireless network at various distances. The rover communicates with the base station on Nova-C and the lander sends the data back to Earth. This demonstration could pave the way for commercial 4G / LTE systems for mission-critical communications on the Moon. This includes communications, high-definition video streaming from astronauts to base stations, and vehicle-to-base station streaming.

The nearby Intuitive Machines’ Micro-Nova unfolds on the surface and jumps onto nearby craters, aiming to capture photos and scientific data before jumping. It then sends the data back to Nova-C. Micro-Nova can carry over 1.5 miles of a 2-pound payload to access the lunar craters and enable high-resolution surveys of the lunar surface. This demonstration could help pave the way for additional commercial lunar exploration services. In the future, scientists may have the opportunity to equip their hoppers with their own small scientific instruments such as cameras, seismographs, and lunar laser ranging systems.

“These early technology demonstrations employ innovative partnerships to provide valuable information on lunar maneuvering and exploration,” said NASA’s Space Technology Mission (STMD) at NASA headquarters in Washington. Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturity at NASA, said. “The data informs the design of future field resource utilization, mobility, communications, power, and dust reduction capabilities.”

NASA selects lunar landing site for ice mining lunar training NASA selects lunar landing site for ice mining lunar training

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