Tag: moon

Lunar Pits Could Shelter Future Explorers, Settlers

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This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO's NAC is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO’s NAC is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

GREENBELT, Mary. (NASA PR) — While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

The pits range in size from about 5 meters (~5 yards) across to more than 900 meters (~984 yards) in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).

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Golden Spike, Honeybee Complete Preliminary Study on Lunar Rover

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Honeybee-Golden Spike rover

Honeybee-Golden Spike rover

BOULDER, Colo., Jul. 8, 2014 (Golden Spike/Honeybee PR) — The Golden Spike Company, the world’s first enterprise planning to undertake human lunar expeditions for countries, corporations and individuals, and Honeybee Robotics, a premier developer of advanced robotic systems, today announced they have completed a preliminary design study for unmanned rovers capable of enhancing the next human missions to the Moon.

In partnership with technical staff at Golden Spike, Honeybee engineers conducted trade studies of both flight-proven and promising technologies to design configurable robotic rovers that can collect and store several kilograms of scientific samples from the Moon’s surface in advance of or in conjunction with Golden Spike’s human expeditions.

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CBS This Morning Looks at Google Lunar X Prize Teams

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The High Cost of Lunar Living

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Credit: Buddy Loans

Credit: Buddy Loans

LONDON, July 3, 2014 (Buddy Loans PR) — Buddy Loans, a professional guarantor loan company based in the UK, has just released an interesting and educational infographic that shows the cost of living on the moon for one year. The fascinating infographic was created in honor of the 45th anniversary of the moon landing.

As a company spokesperson explained, some people believe that the next “giant leap for mankind” will involve the colonization of our closest celestial neighbor. For those who are thinking about one day trading in their vehicle for a spaceship to the moon, the new infographic provides some important information about how costly such a venture would be.

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CBS News Report on the Google Lunar X Prize

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GLXP Update: Penn State Lunar Lion Receives New Engine

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H202 engine (Credit: Penn State Lunar Lion)

H202 engine (Credit: Penn State Lunar Lion)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. (Penn State Lunar Lion PR) — This summer will be a very exciting time for the Lunar Lion Team as it recently received the first of its new H202 engines.  These engines represent a transition from a previous bipropellant LOX/Ethanol propulsion system to a monopropellant one using H2O2.  The previous design for a terrestrial rocket-powered prototype called for using a series of pencil thrusters capable of putting out 20lbs of force.  The new system will still require the prototype (now named Puma) to demonstrate a 500m hop, but do so using four of the new engines, capable of putting out 100lbs of force.

Designing a craft capable of hopping 500m will require many integral milestones to be met along the way, the first including the designing and construction of a craft that will be able to take off and land vertically in a controlled environment.  The team has already selected a location to test Puma and come up with a preliminary design and expects the controlled vertical test to occur by the end of August. The design (without the propellant tank in place) is pictured below.

Now that the team has received the first of its H2O2 engines, testing can commence.  Expect more updates and cool videos to follow!

Video of Masten’s Xombie Flying at Mojave

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Video Caption: Astrobotic Technology’s newly developed autonomous landing system was put to the test recently when it controlled Masten Space Systems’ XA-0.1B Xombie suborbital technology demonstration rocket during a flight test at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Astrobotic’s system designed to avoid terrain hazards while safely landing a spacecraft at a specific location on a asteroid, moon or planet.

The June 20 test funded by the Flight Opportunities Program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate saw the vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing Xombie ascend to about 853 feet in 25 seconds. Using cameras and an inertial measurement unit for navigation, the Astrobotic Autolanding System guided the vehicle to a precise landing.

Astrobotic, Masten Perform Visually Guided Precision Landing

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The combined AAS/XA-0.1-B system landing in the hazard field at Mojave. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

The combined AAS/XA-0.1-B system landing in the hazard field at Mojave. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Groundbreaking effort integrates two privately developed technology platforms to validate performance of autonomous precision landing capability

Mojave, CA (Astrobotic/Masten PR) –  Astrobotic Technology and Masten Space Systems announced today that the Astrobotic Autolanding System (AAS) successfully directed the Xombie vertical-takeoff vertical-landing suborbital rocket in a closed-loop test on June 20, 2014. In this technology demonstration, a computer vision system scanned the landscape, selected a landing spot, and directed a rocket-powered lander to a safe touchdown point, all without a human operator. The flight test was funded by the Flight Opportunities Program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and conducted at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, CA.

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Roscosmos Not Keen on Space Adventures’ Moon Flight

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Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Roscosmos is not amused by a plan by RSC Energia and Space Adventures to spent two tourists on a trip around the moon in a modified Soyuz spacecraft:

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, will not be involved in a plan to send two space tourists on a flight around the Moon and was not consulted about the project, the federal space agency said.

The mission, hatched by U.S.-based space tourism firm Space Adventures and a major Russian spacecraft manufacturer, Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, would see two space tourists travel to the Moon aboard a modified Russian Soyuz spacecraft by 2017. However, Roscosmos was kept out of the loop on the plan.

The organizers “could have consulted with us before making such loud announcements,” said Denis Lyskov, Roscosmos’s deputy chief in charge of piloted flights, Izvestia reported Monday.

“We are not participating in the moon project, we are not planning to modernize the Soyuz,” Lyskov was quoted as saying.

Despite the government owning a 38-percent stake in Energia, the company has a history of asserting its independence from the space agency, which purchases its hardware from the company for use in the government’s space agenda.

The fate of the flight could hinge on how long Energia remains an independent company. Igor Komarov, who heads up the newly created United Rocket and Space Company (URSC), has said the government plans to obtain a 51 percent share in Energia. The state-owned USRC is consolidating much of the Russian space industry under its control.

It’s not clear when the Russian government will obtain a majority share of Energia. It’s also uncertain whether Energia would continue to honor any commitments it made to Space Adventures prior to such a move.

GLXP Update: Astrobotic Will Carry Competitors’ Rovers to the Moon

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Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH, Penn. (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic Technology has invited its competitors for the Google Lunar XPRIZE to fly aboard its Griffin lander to the Moon, setting up the first extraterrestrial race as the lunar rovers sprint to the finish line to win a prize in excess of $20 million.

John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic Technology, made the proposal at the Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Summit June 3-6, 2014 at the Academy of Sciences in Budapest, Hungary.

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