Paris, France (ESA) Apr 01, 2010
The south polar region of the Moon, with dark craters and high ridges, is a world away from the relatively smooth terrain visited by Apollo astronauts four decades ago. This rugged moonscape is the target for Europe's next leap into space.
The possible deposits of water ice, heavily cratered terrain and long periods of sunlight make the lunar south pole and areas around it extremely interesting for explorers and scientists. It is therefore a prime target for future human missions to the Moon.
Europe is now looking at a lander mission to pave the way for astronauts. This precursor would be the first European Moonlander and the first to visit the south polar region. ESA is now asking industry to submit proposals for this Lunar Lander mission.
Preparing for human exploration
The first requires that it uses the latest navigation technology to fly a precise course from lunar orbit to the surface and touch down safely and accurately. On the way down, it must image the surface and recognise dangerous features by itself, using its own 'intelligence'.
Then the Lander shall investigate this unique region with a suite of instruments. It will investigate the properties and possible health effects of radiation and lunar dust on future astronauts, and it will examine the soil for signs of resources that could be used by human explorers.
Europe's vision: a leader in exploration
This 18-month phase will begin this summer, taking the Lunar Lander from a design concept to hardware reality. The goal is for launch by the end of this decade.
Involving European researchers and industry is crucial for defining the detailed mission objectives and identifying instruments to address them. For instance, a request for information in 2009 produced more than 200 responses.
Information session on Lunar Lander
The day is aimed at those who responded to the 2009 request and will include an update on the mission outline, mission objectives and the model payload to be used for Phase-B1.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
SMART-1 at ESA
LRO at NASA
Chandrayaan 1 at ESA
Selene/Lunar at JAXA
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
A Piece Of The Moon In Oberhausen
Cologne, Germany (SPX) Mar 29, 2010
It takes some imagination - the new exhibit on display at the 'Out of this World - Wonders of the Solar System' exhibition at the Gasometer Oberhausen, does not look very spectacular at first glance. Lent to the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) by NASA, it is grey in colour, small - weighing just 92.5 grams - and encased in a Plexiglas casting. But t ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|