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Monday, April 14, 2008

US Navy-JPL Bots May Put Telescope on the Moon in the Next Decade

The United States Naval Research Laboratory and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are working to place a telecope on the moon using robot rovers sometime in the not-so-distant future. Called the Dark Ages Lunar Interferometer, the DALI mission is still in its conceptual stages, but the rovers that would be delivered to the moon via lander need to be agile, able to work together, lightweight and multitudinous. One such concept provided by JPL — is the insect-like ATHLETE [see video or video].

The larger problem is energy - how to power the robots to do the work over time? The 'bots need to run for long stretches, be able to recharge their power stores and can't use heavy components that would drastically increase the mission payload. Such is one of the challenges to advance energy technology as a part of the Decadal Survey Committee.

1 comment:

David Stever said...

Here's a question for you- at what altitude does a lunar satelite need to orbit to be 'Lunosynchronous'? If they put the telescop eon the lunar surface, they'll need to do it on the back side, but having a lunosynchronous satellite to mainatin contact with the Earth would be a good thing.