Feeds

ESA gives MoonTwins project to UK firm

Brace yourself for the acronym attack

The next step in data security

The European Space Agency (ESA) has asked aerospace company Astrium to design a moon landing mission dubbed "MoonTwins".

The mission would put two landers on the moon, one at each pole. There they would conduct experiments and try out technologies that might later be used in ESA's planned missions to Mars.

Speaking to the BBC, Mike Healy, director of space science at Astrium, said: "A Mars sample return mission would be very challenging and MoonTwins would help us understand some of the technology elements that would be needed."

In classic space-exploring style, the team behind MoonTwins has worked really hard to make the name work as an acronym. It officially stands for: Moon Technological Walk-through and In-situ Network Science. Nothing forced about that, oh no siree.

The agency would like the probes to travel to the moon on a demonstrator mission planned for some time between 2015 and 2018. They would piggyback another mission to get into space, and from lunar orbit make their own way to the moon's surface.

Although there is still a lot of flexibility in the design, the core goals of the mission are clear: each craft will need to be able to make a soft, controlled landing at a precise location. They won't be rovers, but might be able to do short ascents, allowing them to "hop" to a new location. They will most likely carry seismometers, and possibly other instruments.

The target landing zones are those most likely to hold water, or at least hydrogen, and as such are the most likely places for later human exploitation. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.