NASA Selects New Members for Artemis Rover Science Team

VIPER rover on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — When NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, explores and samples the soils at the Moon’s South Pole, scientists anticipate it will reveal answers to some of the Moon’s enduring mysteries. Where is the water and how much is there? Where did the Moon’s water come from? What other resources are there?

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Northrop Grumman Announces Team for NASA’s Next-Generation Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Lunar terrain vehicle (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va. – Nov. 16, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), is teaming up with AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Michelin to design a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to transport NASA’s Artemis astronauts around the lunar surface. This team provides multi-disciplinary expertise that is ready to deliver an innovative solution to NASA for lunar surface mobility.

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NASA, Australia Sign Agreement to Add Rover to Future Moon Mission

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — International and commercial partnerships are a critical component of NASA’s long-term plans on and around the Moon under the Artemis program. The agency recently signed a new agreement with the Australian Space Agency that will further support human and robotic lunar operations for both countries.

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South Korea to Boost Military and Civil Space Spending, Transfer Satellite and Launch Vehicle Technology to Private Sector

Test model of the Nuri (KSLV-II) booster. (Credit: Ministry of Science and ICT)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

South Korea plans to invest more than $14.25 billion over the next decade to improve its military and civil space capabilities. The Republic of Korea will transfer satellite and launch vehicle technology to the private sector to boost the nation’s domestic capabilities and improve its international competitiveness. The nation is also deepening defense and civil space cooperation with the United States.

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JAXA, Honda to Begin a Feasibility Study on Circulative Renewable Energy System for Lunar Outposts, Rovers

Conceptual pressurized crewed lunar rover. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA/Honda PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (Honda) today announced the plan to begin a joint feasibility study on a “circulative renewable energy system” in space, which is designed to supply oxygen, hydrogen, and electricity for human outposts and rovers. JAXA and Honda have been conducting a joint research on this system to create an environment in space where people can stay and conduct activities over an extended period of time.

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NASA Artemis Program Faces Significant Challenges on Human Lunar Landing in 2024

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The combination of an ambitious schedule, technical challenges and immature technology will make it difficult for NASA to meet its goal of landing two astronauts on the moon in 2024, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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Backgrounder: Canada Moves Forward with Plans to Explore the Moon

Canadian Space Agency Backgrounder

As many countries prepare for humanity’s return to the Moon, there is great potential for Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to advance lunar science and technology, and be part of the highly competitive global supply chain to the Moon.

Today’s announcement highlights the Government of Canada’s latest support for Canada’s space industries and new opportunities to prepare Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to take part in lunar exploration.

Demonstrating Canadian technology on or around the Moon

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is funding Canadian companies – through the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) – to launch and demonstrate technology payloads on or around the Moon.

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Canada Moves Forward with Plans to Explore the Moon

This photograph of a nearly full Moon was taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft at a point above 70 degrees east longitude. Mare Crisium, the circular, dark-colored area near the center, is near the eastern edge of the Moon as viewed from Earth. (Credits: NASA)

Government of Canada’s Space Strategy supports the future of space exploration, space science and technology and jobs.

LONGUEUIL, Que., May 26, 2021 – As we plan for humanity’s return to the Moon, there is great potential for Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to advance lunar science and technology. Canadians will play an important role in the highly competitive and innovative global supply chain of the expanding new space economy.

That is why, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry today announced investments of $3 million in technology initiatives for lunar exploration through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

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Astrobotic to Develop Wireless Charging System for Use on Moon with NASA Award

The Astrobotic CubeRover traverses the terrain in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory regolith bin on Dec. 10, 2020. Also in the bin is NASA’s Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR), a robotic platform designed to dig on the Moon. The regolith bin simulates the Moon’s surface. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Astrobotic will develop a wireless charging system for use on the lunar surface with the help of a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award.

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MBRSC Teams Up with Japan’s ispace on Emirates Lunar Mission

HAKUTO-R lander on the moon. (Credit: ispace)
  • Emirates Lunar Mission’s ‘Rashid’ rover to go to the Moon on ispace’s Mission 1 in 2022
  • ispace to provide payload delivery, and communication and power services for the rover
  • Agreement further strengthens UAE-Japan collaboration in space exploration

Dubai, UAE, 14 April 2021 (ispace PR) — The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has signed a contract with Japan’s ispace, inc. (ispace), under which the latter will provide payload delivery services for the ambitious Emirates Lunar Mission. Under this agreement, ispace becomes a key strategic and implementation partner to MBRSC on the Emirates Lunar Mission, the first of its kind from the Arab world.

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VIPER Rover Will Get Driving Headlights

Using a special lab at NASA’s Ames Research Center designed to mimic lunar terrain as it would appear in different areas at the Moon’s poles, the VIPER team tests out lighting systems for the rover with a very low-angle illumination simulating the Sun. (Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart)

MOFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — As it journeys into some of the darkest and coldest spots in the solar system, NASA’s new water-hunting Moon rover, VIPER, will need some very robust headlights to light the way.

In the extremes of light and dark found on the Moon, shadowed and lit areas are in such high contrast that any contours in the landscape are effectively invisible in the darkness. To navigate this world, VIPER’s rover drivers will rely on a system of rover-mounted lights and cameras to steer clear of boulders, descend steep declines into craters and avoid other potentially mission-fatal dangers.

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HeroX Helps NASA Advance Lunar Exploration with a Miniaturized Payload Prototype Challenge

Credit: HeroX

Crowdsourcing Competition Enters Second Phase with NASA Seeking Prototype Payloads, Offering $800K in Total Development Funds & Prizes

HOUSTON, October 15, 2020 (HeroX PR) — HeroX , the world’s leading platform for crowdsourced solutions, today launched the crowdsourcing competition “Honey I Built the NASA Payload, The
Sequel” on behalf of the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The challenge seeks to develop miniature payload prototypes that can be sent to the Moon to help fill gaps in lunar knowledge. Lunar resources are potentially abounding, and these prototypes can also help discover some of these key resources scientists think might be on the Moon.

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NASA to Announce Selection of Company to Fly VIPER Rover to Moon

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will announce the commercial provider selected to deliver NASA’s new water-hunting mobile robot, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), to the South Pole of the Moon during a media teleconference at 2:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, June 10. 

As the first resource-mapping mission on the surface of another world, VIPER will help pave the way for a new era of human missions to the lunar surface and will bring NASA a step closer to developing a sustainable, long-term robotic and human presence on the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

The teleconference audio will stream live at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Supporting materials also will be available at nasa.gov/live.

VIPER’s delivery to the Moon is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, an innovative, service-based, competitive acquisition approach that enables rapid, affordable, and frequent access to the lunar surface via a growing market of American commercial providers. The selected company will be responsible for end-to-end services for delivery of VIPER, including integration with its lander, launch from Earth, and landing in a polar region on the Moon in late 2023.

For more information about NASA’s VIPER mission, visit:

https://nasa.gov/viper

Masten Space Working on System to Help Vehicles Survive Frigid Lunar Nights

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

MOJAVE, Calif. — One of the big challenges faced by lunar landers and rovers is the 14-day lunar night. Temperatures can drop to minus 280 Fahrenheit (minus 173 Celsius), causing vehicle components to literally freeze to death before the sun reappears.

Masten Space Systems is working on a solution to the problem of frigid lunar nights with financing from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

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