Feeds

NASA suggests robotic return to the Moon

Astronauts could control rover from Lagrange 2 point

Top three mobile application threats

A “return to the Moon” would need an almost unimaginable change in political thinking about the cost of space programs, but that doesn’t stop dreamers from dreaming.

A group of researchers that includes members from NASA, Caltech’s JPL, Lockheed-Martin and a handful of high-profile institutions have proposed a human return to truly deep space, by way of a project in which Lunar activities would be conducted by robots, controlled by humans orbiting at the L2 Lagrange point.

It’s put forward as a starting point to get humans back out into deep space – incidentally reintroducing America to a capability beyond Low Earth Orbit, something US space scientists yearn for.

NASA image of Lagrange points

Earth-Moon Lagrange points: the proposal would station astronauts at L2 to control a rover on the Moon.

Image A Lunar L2-Farside Exploration and Science Mission Concept, Burns et al

The mission the group proposes in this paper would happen in two parts: a rover would be launched on a lower-speed trajectory described as a “ballistic lunar transfer”, followed by astronauts travelling on an Orion spacecraft boosted by NASA’s heavy-lift SLS (space launch system).

The Orion would then take up station at the L2 Lagrange point, which would give it line-of-sight to the rover, which will have landed on the dark far side of the moon in the South Pole–Aitken basin. The Rover’s mission would be to collect rock samples from the impact basin – apparently an important location from a scientific point of view – and to deploy low-frequency antennae for a Moon-hosted radio telescope.

The researchers identify a region of the target area for the rover, the Schroedinger basin, as being 3.8 billion years old, and therefore able to yield good information about the evolution of the solar system.

The paper proposes that the radiotelescope part of the mission could be pre-built on Earth as antennas “printed” on polyimide films that could be unrolled from storage once in place. It would be designed to look for frequencies associated with “cosmic dawn” events – the earliest objects to “light up” in the universe.

Since the Orion is lunar-capable, the proposal states that the only modifications required would be for enough life support supplies to last a 31-day mission. At 65,000 km distant, the astronaut controlling the rover would be roughly 0.2 seconds away. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.