Drones with electrostatic suspension to explore the moon

Une image prise lors de la mission Apollo 17 et montrant le géologue Harrison Schmitt sur le site de la vallée de Taurus-Littrow. © Nasa, ESA, J. Garvin

Drones are proliferating on Earth, so why not use them on other planets where they can be used on a large scale for massive and efficient exploration? The problem is, there is no real atmosphere on the Moon, and even less so on asteroids like Psychi or Ceres. However, engineers at MIT are working on drones that are said to be electrostatic levitating.

The return of Nosphere The moon Is imminent with Mission Artemis. But one can think so Homo sapiens Will not be trampled Regolith Lunar before 2025. Meanwhile, robotic missions are likely to proliferate on the surface of our satellite. We already have remarkable knowledge of the lunar surface Resolution Images of the LRO Inquiry (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) It’s definitely less than a meter. But countless surprises may be hidden in these images, and the full scale must be taken to examine directly on the lunar surface where the LRO might be attracting attention.

A collection of images taken by the LRO probe. © NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

ET Techno Signatures and Exotic Planetology?

To convince this and dream a little, remember that almost a decade ago, it became famous Physicist Paul Davies suggested in an article published in 2013. Searching for alien artifacts on the moon, Perhaps to include Internet users in checking LRO images for possible technical signatures of abandoned, abandoned alien explorers Monolithic From black 2001: A space odyssey. Davis and his student at the time, Robert Wagner, were renewing an idea already explored by a Ukrainian radio astronomer who was a member of Sethi. Alexei Arkipov, In addition to attempts to find traces of the construction of alien civilizations Space stations Or those who stand apart by their lamps Cities.

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So it was a question of looking more generally at the moon for the remains of alien civilizations, such as buildings and mines that left a mission to explore our blue planet millions of years ago.

Indeed, it is quite unlikely that the development of mankind would coincide with that of an advanced ET civilization in a few thousand years. If an alien exploration mission has indeed visited our solar system, no doubt Super IAThis event is likely to have taken place millions or millions of years ago. For such a mission that would come to study longer and closer Biosphere Earth, the most logical and convenient would be the installation of a lunar foundation. However, the Moon’s tectonically stable and non – erosive atmosphere is far more favorable than Earth’s.

But without going that far, one hopes to find interesting phenomena on the lunar surface that are undoubtedly worthy of scrutiny. If we think about the famous invention of the “orange soil” we can see this here too Apollo 17 or presence Lunar vortices.

This may be the task Rovers Even Drones, As before Tuesday Currently. But how do drones fly over the surface of the moon? Atmosphere Incredibly thinner than Mars?

Electrostatic antigravity

Aerospace Engineers from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) There is a beginning to the answer – they explain it in a published article Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. For the time being, this is mainly a theoretical study, but it is not limited to the moon, the concept studied is relevant, and it is applicable to small-scale exploration. AsteroidsAs stated in a press release from MIT, one of the authors of the study, Paulo Lozano, is a professor. Alaman-Velasco, AeronauticsSpace science And Director Space Propulsion Lab With you: ” With a levitating rover, you do not have to worry about wheels or parts Mobiles. The terrain of an asteroid can be completely uneven, and you can navigate very rough and unexplored terrain as long as you have a controlled mechanism for your rover to hover. .

The antigravity force that engineers want to use is simply power Electrostatic. Of course, in addition to the protective shield of the Earth’s atmosphere, the Moon or asteroids are exposed to the void of space through which respiration passes. In Sole. As a result, their surfaces can cause dust particles to rise more than a meter above the Earth on the Moon.

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The idea is to electrically charge the surface of the drone or rover so that the surface of the charged planets expels them electrostatically. According to a study by Lozano and his colleagues Oliver Gia-Richards and Sebastian Hample, these machines currently weigh about one kilogram. Generators D ‘Ions Small sizes. They are produced from a salt reservoir Liquid It requires less consumptionEnergy To speed them up.

Calculations also show that it is necessary at this moment to increase the surface electric charge under the drone or rover, which is quite possible to do this with the same ion generators emitted in the direction of the surface of the moon or asteroid. . For now, only a centimeter increase is expected, but engineers are confident they can do better.

Their reflections are not only based on concepts, they are beginning to be nurtured by very tangible laboratory experiences. So they made a small hexagonal test vehicle that weighed about 60 grams and was about the size of a hand. They then pointed it up and down four times with an ion thruster, and then suspended the vehicle on an aluminum surface from two calibrated springs. Gravitational force Of the earth. The entire installation was placed in a vacuum chamber to partially mimic the condition of the interplanetary space.

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