Hidden beneath the moon’s layers of dusty regolith are lava caves— caves that scientists hope could one day support human colonies. But these subterranean spaces have never been explored before….at least not yet.
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Asagumo is the latest rover from Spacebit, a space robotics company based in the United Kingdom. Its set to launch onboard the UK’s first mission to the moon AND will be the first rover ever sent to explore the lunar lava tubes. We’ve used massive wheeled ‘bots as our means of exploration for years. So why is it time to move into a design with legs? Scientists believe that legs would provide Asagumo a possibility to travel through rough terrain. They also believe that legs would allow Asagumo, for example, to climb on the rocks and so on. Lava caves will present a much more rugged landscape than that of the lunar exterior.
A lava tube is just a long cave made by lava a long time ago. On Earth we can find lava tubes as well. Scientists hope that lava tubes could be used as a really nice place for a sustainable human lunar base. This lava cave should protect from temperature, from radiation, from small meteorites, and other potential things that can harm humans. Because no one has had a chance to explore these lava tubes yet, there are still many unknowns. But we *think* they’re there because of the steep pits or “skylights” we’ve spotted on the moon’s surface.
Asagumo will be tasked with identifying whether any of these suspected caves could be a suitable future home for humans. But as Asagumo prepares to take one giant step for robotkind, you may be wondering: how will its design help meet this ambitious goal? The main goal is to walk for 10 meters. And during that walk, we will gather… a lot of data. We really hope that Asagumo will be able to walk for half a kilometer but even 10 meters will be more than enough. But there are so many variables when tackling a design that involves so many moving parts. (Literally).
#science #seeker #tech #space #lavacaves #Asagumo
Meet Asagumo, a spider-like rover that is going to the moon later this year
“Called Asagumo rover, it is built on a single-unit CubeSat frame that is generally used for small satellites. The rover weighs just 1.3kg and runs on solar power. Instead of wheels or tracks, the rover features four arachnid-like legs.”
Space Talks with Pavlo Tanasyuk, CEO of Spacebit launching UK’s first lunar rover
“Although weight-saving for lunar vehicles has been fundamental in the design process since Apollo—for launch vehicle payload and cost reasons—modern micro-miniaturization technologies have allowed the development of a rover that weighs little more than that legendary yardstick, the ‘bag of sugar’.”
Lava tubes may be havens for ancient alien life and future human explorers
“Besides providing a window into geological history, lava tubes offer environmental conditions that are relatively stable and likely to be more hospitable than those found on a planet’s surface. This may make the tubes appealing to life-forms of all sizes, from microbes to spacefaring colonists from Earth.”
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