Tag Archives: NASA

NASA tested a shoebox-sized rover

With the help of the CubeRover apparatus, the agency intends to expand scientific, research, and commercial activities on the Moon.

At the Kennedy Space Center, USA, NASA specialists tested the small rover CubeRover manufactured by Astrobotic Technology. This was reported by the press service of the American space agency.

It is noted that a four-wheeled vehicle the size of a shoebox was placed in a 120-ton container that simulated the surface of the moon. NASA experts evaluated the CubeRover’s agility and how its sensors, engine, and power systems perform in dusty environments. In total, the rover has performed over 150 mobility tests.

With the help of the Astrobotic Technology apparatus, the agency intends to expand scientific, research, and commercial activities on the Moon.

“The CubeRovers are lightweight, weighing approximately 9 pounds (about 4 kg). Their deployment and development costs are relatively low. This significantly reduces the cost of the flight, making CubeRovers an excellent platform for demonstration missions,” said Astrobotic Technology Director of Planetary Mobility Mike Provenzano.

According to him, the rover needs to be fully prepared by 2024 – for NASA’s Artemis lunar mission.

Recall that in July, the United States launched the world’s largest Mars rover, the Perseverance rover, to Mars. One of its main tasks is to collect soil samples, which in a few years will be taken by the next mission and delivered to Earth for the first time in 2031.

NASA probe took soil samples from asteroid Bennu

The probe approached the surface of a celestial body with a diameter of 500 meters, known as the asteroid Bennu, literally for a few seconds.

The American probe OSIRIS-REx, located 320 million kilometers from Earth, approached the asteroid Bennu and took soil samples from its surface. This was announced on Tuesday, October 20, by the NASA probe on Twitter.

For the operation, a point in a crater with a diameter of about 20 meters in the northern part of the asteroid was previously selected.

According to NASA, the rod with a special device for collecting soil touched the surface of the asteroid for just 16 seconds. At that moment, one of the nitrogen capsules emitted a cloud of compressed gas, under the influence of which the soil particles settled on the inner surface of the device.

About how successful the operation was and how much soil was collected, it will become known not earlier than Saturday.

The OSIRIS-REx probe is known to have been launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in September 2016. He reached Bennu in December 2018 and a little later entered the asteroid’s orbit for the first time. The probe is to return to Earth in September 2023 and deliver soil samples.

Bennu is an old asteroid located at a distance of more than 320 million km from Earth. Some of Bennu’s mineral fragments may be older than the solar system, scientists say. The diameter of the asteroid is 492 meters.

Bennu’s research will allow scientists to look into the early solar system and learn more about how life began on Earth, NASA notes.

Recall that during this period, the Earth passes through a stream of meteors from the tail of Halley’s comet. Therefore, those who like to admire the night sky can witness an interesting phenomenon when the flow rate will reach about 20 meteors per hour.

UK and NASA signed an agreement on the exploration of the moon

The British Space Agency and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) signed the “Artemis Accords” on Tuesday, setting out guidelines for lunar exploration. This is stated in the statement released by the British Office on Tuesday.

“The signing of the agreement signals that we are committed to playing a leading role in outer space. We hope to deepen our relationship with the United States in the field of space. The moon and Mars, “the head of the British space agency, Graham Turnock, said in a statement. This agreement was signed within the framework of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which is being held online this year.

It is emphasized that the UK, in particular, will take part in the creation of a circumlunar station Gateway, which will become a transfer point for missions to a natural satellite of the Earth and into deep space. For these purposes, the British authorities have already allocated 16 million pounds ($20.7 million).

NASA approved an updated plan for the lunar program Artemis

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released on Monday an updated plan for its Artemis lunar program, the first phase of which (Artemis 1) is now slated for 2021, and the second (Artemis 2) for 2023. This was announced at a telephone briefing for journalists by the head of the department, James Bridenstine.

The landing itself on the moon, which is considered the third stage of the mission (Artemis 3), should occur, as previously planned, in 2024. “All the elements we need to successfully land on the moon in 2024 are in the process of being implemented, and we are rapidly moving towards that goal,” Bridenstine said.

Artemis 1 envisages the unmanned flight of the Orion spacecraft installed on the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket around the Moon and its return to Earth. The second stage (Artemis 2) is a flight around a natural satellite of the Earth with a crew on board.