European Lunar Scientists and Engineers Design Moon Cave Explorer

ESA gathered a spectrum of experts in many different areas of science and engineering to design a mission to enter a pit on the Moon’s surface and explore the entrance to a lunar cave. The key parts of the mission would be a crane attached to a rover, and a probe that is lowered by the crane into the pit. (Credit: ESA/Vigea)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Lunar caves are not only a geologically pristine record of the Moon’s history, but they could also provide a safe home for future human explorers. Building upon ESA Discovery’s OSIP call and SysNova challenge, ESA gathered a spectrum of over 60 experts in many different areas of science and engineering to design a mission to enter a pit on the Moon’s surface and explore the entrance to a lunar cave.

The Moon is dotted with pits that scientists think could lead to huge underground tunnels. But a space mission has never been sent to explore what could lie within.

“A view into the interior of a lunar cave would be true exploration – it would reveal unexpected scientific information,” says Francesco Sauro, cave scientist and planetary lava tube expert, as well as technical course director of ESA CAVES and PANGAEA.

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Innovation by the Dozen: ESA Funds 12 OPS-SAT Experiments

As a flying laboratory, ESA’s OPS-SAT will test and validate new techniques in mission control and on-board systems. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s OPS-SAT is a Swiss army knife in orbit. The 30-cm CubeSat packs a powerful onboard computer and an array of instruments that make it the ideal laboratory for testing innovative new technologies in space.

Thanks to the ESA Discovery programme, 12 new experiments will be doing just that, as they develop software, concepts and protocols that push the robust CubeSat to its limits and that could one day be essential parts of future spacecraft missions.

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ESA Seeks Software Ideas to Bring Smart Satellites to Life

Engineering model of Hera’s onboard computer in redundant configuration. (Credit: QinetiQ Space)

PARIS (ESA PR) — If we were to talk about our bodies in the technical terms that we typically use to talk about spacecraft, our bones, muscles and ligaments would be our ‘hardware’, our brain the ‘central processing unit (CPU)’, and our nervous system the ‘software’.

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ESA Issues Call for Companies to Develop Agency’s Patents

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA develops a vast array of innovative technologies and applications to make Europe’s space endeavours happen. Many of these inventions are protected by patents, resulting in a portfolio of around 580 patents or patent applications. ESA is now offering you the opportunity to find and mature real-world applications of these inventions.

Innovation is at ESA’s core. Through devising new inventions, the Agency becomes more than a mere procurement body: it delivers real technical added value to improve Europe’s competitive edge. The innovation process often starts with new ideas in the heads of ESA technical experts, which go on to be implemented by European industry.

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