Feeds

ESA gives MoonTwins project to UK firm

Brace yourself for the acronym attack

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.