NASA reveals its new fake moon
They announced that they have now recreated the two major types of lunar surfaces on the Moon's polar regions.
By Dean Murray via SWNS
NASA has revealed its new fake moon - a lab with ultra-realistic lighting and terrain to simulate lunar conditions.
They announced on Jan. 31 that they have now recreated the two major types of lunar surfaces that future robots, rovers, and astronauts will experience in the Moon's polar regions.
The so-called Lunar Lab and Regolith Testbed houses at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley houses two large indoor “sandboxes” filled with tons of simulated lunar dust. With both testbeds, most areas on the Moon can be simulated with a high degree of accuracy.
NASA’s new Moon rover, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) team, has been able to use the Regolith Testbed to test how well the rover’s lighting systems and hazard avoidance cameras handle the very low-angle illumination it will experience while mapping the Moon’s South Pole.
While a first moonscape has been used for several years, the facility has recently been upgraded to include the second, larger testbed, filled with more than 20 tons of Lunar Highlands Simulant-1.
This area is filled with more than 20 tons of Lunar Highlands Simulant-1 (LHS-1), which is light grey to simulate the lunar highlands. It measures 62 feet by 13 feet by 1 foot and can be reconfigured to be a smaller, but deeper, testbed.
The facility’s first sandbox measures approximately 13 feet by 13 feet by 1.5 feet and is filled with eight tons of Johnson Space Center One simulant (JSC-1A) – making it the world’s largest collection of the material. The JSC-1A simulant mimics the Moon’s mare basins and is dark grey in color.
Research scientists and engineers from NASA and industry alike have been able to use the Lunar Lab to study how well science instruments, robots, and people might be able to safely work, manipulate, navigate, and traverse the tough lunar terrain.
The Testbed also enables research applicable to places beyond our Moon, including Mercury, asteroids, and regolith-covered moons like Mars’ Phobos.
The polar regions of the Moon are very different from the terrain Apollo astronauts experienced. When rovers and astronauts carry out missions at the lunar South Pole, they’ll have to navigate in low-angle lighting and overcome harsh solar glare that makes it difficult to see. Because the Sun will never rise overhead, even the smallest rock or crater will cast long shadows and cloak craters in darkness. And, at times, the Sun will blaze at eye-level as it reflects off the soil.
NASA said: "Sometimes researchers painstakingly shape the dust with hand tools to recreate, as accurately as possible, features astronauts and rovers are likely to encounter.
"These include tiny pits and small craters measuring as small as a couple feet to a few yards across. It may also mean placing small rocks and other debris to resemble actual places observed by Moon-orbiting spacecraft."
One feature that makes the Testbed unique, is a set of bright, high-power lights that simulate the Sun’s glaring rays as they are cast across the lunar landscape. Researchers can accurately recreate lighting conditions that are relevant to locations on the Moon’s poles and across a range of lunar times – past, present, or future.
NASA said: "Future human and robotic explorers of off-planet polar regions will need to contend with the incredibly abrasive and “sticky” lunar dust, known as regolith.
"Moon dust has grains as fine as powder, as sharp as tiny shards of glass, and a curious capacity to electrostatically cling to everything, due to the way it was formed.
"Add in the lack of an atmosphere and the fact that the Moon is home to some of the coldest places in our solar system, and the lunar environment will pose a challenge to machinery and spacesuits, at best. At worst, it could be a hazard."
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email [email protected] or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
1 de cada 4 se siente poco calificado para posibles trabajos
Al contrario, el 18% de los encuestados piensan que están sobre cualificados.
The ‘perfect’ living room layout to improve your mood and well-being
“We become blind to rooms that aren’t working and it’s hard to see a problem when you’re in it."
Cancer survivor finally becoming a mom after friend offers to be surrogate
"I had hoped for so long to be a mom."
This is how ants spread all over the world
How ants evolved to become so ubiquitous has remained a mystery until now.
Drone footage captures boyfriend pulling off the ‘ultimate proposal’
"It was just perfect."
- Health1 week ago
Women reveal reasons why they don’t exercise enough
- Food & Drink3 days ago
Family dinners are more important than you’d think
- Sports4 days ago
This is how far sports fans are willing to go for their favorite team
- Weddings4 days ago
Couple ditches their wedding dresses for matching sweatsuits
- Home1 week ago
1 in 6 Americans put off cleaning for at least a month
- Animals4 days ago
This dog is so big people often mistake him for a pony or a lion
- Wellness1 day ago
Average American feels insecure 5 times a day: poll
- History1 week ago
Early European farmers survived because they had lots of sex