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Viewings: 7222If you ever begin to build a base on the moon, you have to solve the problems of cargo transportation in the conditions of loose surfaces and low gravity. To this end, the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA develop conveyor ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer), or "cross-country of the six-legged extraterrestrial Explorer".
The name of the Rover is not just a metaphor. Indeed, they have six legs, each of which is bent at seven "joints". By moving ATHLETE looks somewhat like a spider. The only difference from a living being is that "limb" is equipped with wheels for movement on smooth surfaces. Tyres of tubeless wheels and hence insensitive to punctures. If the path of the conveyor will be the obstacle that cannot simply be moved, then the machine will be able to cross.
When necessary, the Rover will be able to split into two Autonomous parts, each on three legs. Both halves are able to act "in a bundle", selecting and moving specially designed for transportation under the moon unique containers.
Most importantly, why the need for the system ATHLETE, is the transport of goods over long distances. In fact, reset the containers have back from the database, otherwise you can not calculate and reset them right people on the head... Well, and deliver them to the base just keeps ATHLETE.
To navigate in space apparatus will be using 48 stereo cameras (by the way, their Curiosity only 17), posted on its "limbs", the frame and wheels. It will also allow you to transmit to Earth the information about the location of each relevant site. It is assumed that the Rover will run on hydrogen and oxygen. To develop them will be gas station, which will decompose on the constituent elements of water received from the lunar ice, using solar energy.
The presence of water on the moon in the form of ice - fact practically proven. By the way, water ice on the moon may be greater than thought so far. For example, its deposits may lurk in the shaded areas of the satellite, located far away from its poles. Not so long ago reported on the European planetological Congress in Madrid Joshua Cahill of the applied physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University (USA) and his colleagues.
A group of Cahill has developed software called LunarShader to simulate the lighting conditions on the moon during a solar cycle. The program was based on two topographic models: the first one is composed Japanese spacecraft "Kaguya", the second - American probe Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). According to them, about 100 lunar craters must have a permanent shadow, while some of them are located in the area of 58 degrees North or South latitude.
Meanwhile, Cahill and his team was able to measure the temperature away from poles craters suspected to contain water ice, with the help of the device diviner on Lunar Radiometer, which is equipped LRO. As it turned out, these craters only twice cooler than their surroundings: on average, their temperature is 175 degrees Kelvin. It is enough in thin atmospheric layer of water has boiled, and vanished. Therefore, if there remained ice, then the search should be under the surface, not outside.
Earlier, a similar message made at the conference on study of the moons and planets in Woodlands (USA) Emerson, Speyerer from the University of Arizona (USA). Speyerer said that they had engaged in search of places with persistent shadow at the lunar poles, and then, using data from LRO, switched to the search of such zones in other areas of the satellite. According to the scientist, the orbital radar only allow to identify the areas for further research, but any findings need to be confirmed by results of visual observations.
But technologies that are available to researchers today, it is not too good because the Rovers, for example, work on the solar panels, and therefore not suitable for operation in a shaded craters... Maybe you should adjust the instrument so that the Rovers only partially sank into the shadows, and their solar cells could stay in the sun and recharged from him. For example, the panels can be installed on a ten-meter masts.
It is territory, where is found the ice, suitable for the construction of permanent manned lunar bases. After all, where there's water, there can live and people!
While has been tested only initial mini-model ATHLETE. Development costs amounted to about two million dollars, which by the standards of NASA bit. The full-size model of the Rover, the height of which will amount to 7.9 meters is expected to be built by 2017.
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