Water is a precious resource – especially on the Moon! In the near future, robotic rovers may roam the Moon’s poles in search of hidden reservoirs of water beneath the lunar surface. But traversing the poles can be a perilous journey. Depending on the Sun’s position in the sky and the way that its light falls on the surface, hazards such as boulders and craters can be difficult, if not impossible, to see.
Inside our Lunar Lab at Ames Research Center, researchers are using Hollywood light kits and a giant sandbox filled with 8 tons of artificial Moon dirt to simulate driving conditions at the poles. The research aims to provide rovers and their human supervisors with 3-D hazard maps of the Moon’s terrain, helping them to avoid potential obstacles that lie ahead.
Here’s how it works:
STEP 1: GENERATE A MOON MAP
Researchers begin with a map of the Moon’s terrain that’s randomly generated by a computer. Each scene is based on observations made from lunar orbit. The map indicates the number, location and size of features like rocks and craters that should be placed inside the 12x12-foot testbed.
STEP 2: BUILD A MOONSCAPE
Using the map as a guide, researchers build the terrain by hand with everyday tools. The terrain is then dusted with a top layer of artificial Moon dirt to eliminate shovel and brush marks.
STEP 3: CAPTURE IMAGES
Lights are positioned at different locations around the testbed. One by one, the lights are switched on and off while a camera captures images of the terrain. Notice how the appearance of the terrain changes depending on the source of illumination.
STEP 4: CREATE A 3-D MODEL
Using a computer algorithm, a 3-D hazard detection model of the terrain is generated from the images. The model provides important information about the size of an obstacle, its height and where it’s located.
STEP 5: GO EXPLORING
With this technique, researchers can teach a rover to recognize the effect of different lighting conditions on the Moon’s poles. The tool could come in handy for future lunar rover missions like Resource Prospector, which will use a drill to search for subsurface water and other compounds on the Moon.
Falk for NYTimes :: This 120-pound lunar suit, which made its debut in 1960 at
the Republic Aviation Corporation in Farmingdale, Long Island. Because of the
moon’s gravity the suit was reported to weigh just 20 pounds on the moon. Of
course, the aluminum capsule looks quite clunky but this suit had some
impressive gadgetry to offer: one of them
being a tripod stand, a small shelf inside the suit where the lunar explorer
can rest. This photo shows a model demonstrating tools that could be
substituted for the suit’s standard gloved hands. / source: NYTimes on Instagram
“So charming,” said Sybil, tilting her head. “My little protégé has been embraced by cyborgs and androids and criminals—the scum of Earthen society. Quite fitting for a useless shell.” From the corner of her eye, Cinder noticed Thorne easing himself as a shield between Cress and the thaumaturge, but it was Cress who lifted her chin, with a look more confident than Cinder had ever seen on her. “You mean the useless shell that just disconnected the link to all your palace surveillance equipment?” |Cress by Marissa Meyer|
James Hall Nasmyth & James Carpenter, ‘The Moon: Considered as a Planet’ (Three photographic illustrations of plaster models that Nasmyth and Carpenter fabricated based upon their observations of the lunar satellite), 1874.
MOON, a collaboration of designer Oscar Lhermitte and Kudu Design Studio. #MOON uses data sourced from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the light matches in exact 3D 1/20 million scale detail the real heavenly body in miniature facsimile, including the topographic craters, elevation, and ridges of the moon. But the lunar model itself is only half of the equation. A ring of LED lights revolves around the moon model, casting light upon the correct face of the moon, in essence recreating the lunar phases as seen from Earth #industrialdesign #design #inspiration #architecture #archilovers #art #interiordesign #lifestyle #painting #watch #homedecor #furniture #artgallery #photooftheday #blogger #gallery #photography #travel #book #artcollective #artwork #vintage #decoration #lighting #illustration #artoftheday #decor #interior #luxury
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, located in Hutchinson, Kansas. Being so far away from Florida, I never really expected to visit the museum anytime relatively soon. However, when I realized I was spending ten days in Kansas City (only three and a quarter hours away), I thought I might finally be able to visit this remarkable center.
The Cosmosphere is the only Smithsonian Affiliate museum in Kansas, and is the only facility approved by the government to restore and preserve flown spacecraft. Their preservation department is currently restoring the five Apollo 11 F-1 engines that Jeff Bezos recovered in 2012. It houses the largest collection of Soviet spacecraft outside Russia, and the second-largest collection of American space artifacts outside the Smithsonian Institution.
Entering the museum, you’re nose-to-nose with the SR-71 blackbird. Serial number 17961, the aircraft flew until 1977 when it was then used for spare parts. A full-scale model of the side of the space shuttle runs along the length of the building, and the ticket counter is located under the wing.
The museum portion of the facility is located underground for both climate control and protection. The galleries are chronological starting from World War II and the V2 production facilities. The Cold War gallery featured a Redstone IRBM warhead and backup Sputnik I and II vehicles.
The centerpiece of the museum was the Early Spaceflight gallery. It featured the only Vostok Capsule on display in the West, which was part of a biological satellite in the 1980’s. Nearby, a Voskhod II engineering model towered over visitors.
Voskhod II was the spacecraft that the first spacewalk was performed on. The backup Volga airlock Cosmonaut Alexi Leonov used was attached to the display spacecraft. Of everything I saw in the museum, this was perhaps the most fascinating to me. While I am quite familiar with the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules, and have seen many versions of each in various locations, I had never seen any Soviet spacecraft in person before. I think I spent more time studying the form and design of the Voskhod than in any other part of the Cosmosphere.
The American half of the gallery featured Gemini 10 and an Agena docking target. Normally, Liberty Bell 7 would be located here, however, about a month prior to my visit, the spacecraft was removed for transport to Bonn, Germany, where it will be on display until April 2015. While slightly disappointed I did not see it, I recall it being on tour in the early 2000’s at Kennedy Space Center as part of its restoration tour. Even when Liberty Bell is not at the Cosmosphere, the facility has the distinction of being only one of three museums worldwide that houses flown spacecraft from all three manned American space programs during the 1960’s. Remnants of the unmanned Mercury Atlas-1 capsule, which experienced its booster exploding during launch, are housed in the museum as well. Although it didn’t fly in space, it is still considered a flown artifact.
The other cornerstone of the museum was located in the Apollo gallery - the Odyssey. The Apollo 13 command module was one of the most neglected command modules of the program after its return to Earth. An extensive multi-year renovation in the mid 1990’s saw over 22,000 pieces of the spacecraft recovered from around the world to restore it to its former glory. Of particular interest to me was the reattachment of the docking tunnel. On other Apollo command modules, the hardware was jettisoned before its reentry through the atmosphere. Odyssey’s hardware met the same fate, but the display capsule featured a backup. Various components of the Saturn V were also on display, but I will write about that in a later post.
Nearby, a full-scale Lunar Module that was used in NBC’s lunar landing broadcast was set up to simulate the Apollo 15 mission, complete with Lunar Rover model. Across the hall is one of the few moonrocks retried from the Apollo 11 mission on display. Most lunar samples on public view are from later missions.
The entire facility was absolutely stunning. Their collection was spectacular, comprehensive, and displayed in a way to inspire even those avid of space buffs. Roughly 7% of the entire Cosmosphere's collection is on view, so items are frequently on global tour or loaned elsewhere. Even in my description of the exhibits I left out a majority of displays and images, though I’ll write more posts and images later. In my opinion, it was on par with that of the Smithsonian.