Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Space Travel News .




SPACE TRAVEL
Desert Tests Pave Way for Human Exploration of Small Bodies
by Staff Writers
Mojave CA (SPX) May 22, 2013


Pascal Lee (SETI Institute and Mars Institute) (left) measures the bearing capacity of gravelly soil at Asteroid Hill, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, using a static cone penetrometer, while Kris Zacny (Honeybee Robotics) drives an anchor into the same material to evaluate the system's design and performance. These field tests will help design surface exploration systems optimized for the exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids, Phobos, and Deimos. 14 April 2013. (First Canyon Media).

A team of researchers from the SETI Institute, the Mars Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, and the space robotics company Honeybee Robotics has successfully completed a first series of field tests aimed at investigating how humans will explore and work on near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and eventually the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos.

From 13 to 15 April 2013, field experiments were conducted at the U.S. Army's National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, to evaluate geotechnical methods and systems that will enable humans to be productive explorers in the low gravity environment of small rocky bodies. Sub-kilometer sized NEAs, Phobos, and Deimos are among destinations currently considered by NASA for future human missions into deep space.

"Human missions to near-Earth asteroids and to the moons of Mars present us with the exciting challenge of exploring planetary bodies with extremely low gravity" says Pascal Lee, planetary scientist at the SETI Institute and leader of the field test.

"The goal of our field test was to learn how to characterize the physical properties of small body surfaces, and to test ideas that might enable humans to more productively explore these low-gravity worlds."

The Mojave field test included three investigations: 1) a study of whether conventional field tools commonly used to characterize the mechanical properties of soils on Earth are suitable for small bodies; 2) an evaluation of how different anchoring systems might allow robotic spacecraft and astronauts to remain bound to a low gravity body; 3) a study of how astronauts might conduct geological sampling on a small body while using anchors and tethers.

"It's important to analyze and understand how conventional civil engineering methods and systems perform in natural settings on Earth before adapting them to the exploration of small bodies" explains Kris Zacny, Director of Planetary Exploration Robotics at Honeybee Robotics in Pasadena, California. Honeybee Robotics is the company that developed the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and the Sample Manipulation System (SMS) and Dust Removal Tool (DRT) on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity.

The Mojave field test was carried out on a small rocky hill at the NTC with many exposed blocks of weathered granite called tors. The site, now named "Asteroid Hill," is reminiscent of the blocky surface of near-Earth asteroid (25143) Itokawa, which was explored in 2005 by Japan's Hayabusa robotic spacecraft.

"While neither the composition of the rocks nor the gravity at Asteroid Hill are similar to what they are on NEAs, the relevance of the site resides in the similarity in terrain texture (gravel and block abundance and sizes), topography, and scale between Asteroid Hill and Itokawa," notes Lee.

"This is an interesting analog site for planning future NASA robotic and human asteroid exploration, as it not only resembles the surface of the only sub-kilometer NEA explored by spacecraft to date, Itokawa, but it is well supported logistically by the U.S. Army's National Training Center," said Terry Fong, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames Research Center.

The Mojave field test builds on an existing partnership between NASA and the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin. The latter is home to NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking station.

"The National Training Center's participation in this field test with NASA represents another positive development in our Joint Interagency Intergovernmental and Multinational (JIIM) partnership. It allows NTC to showcase it's soldiers, the NTC community, and NTC's vast training resources," said Cyle Fena, Deputy G3 at the NTC.

The Mojave Field Test will be featured as part of an upcoming television documentary filmed by First Canyon Media, Inc., titled "Mission Asteroid." Produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), "Mission Asteroid" is expected to air in North America in Fall 2013.

.


Related Links
Mars Institute
SETI Institute
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SPACE TRAVEL
British astronaut 'Major Tim' to fly to ISS
London (AFP) May 20, 2013
A former army helicopter pilot was on Monday named as the first "home-grown" British astronaut to head to the International Space Station. Major Tim Peake, 41, will fly out to the ISS in November 2015 as part of a six-man crew, becoming the first Briton ever to travel to space on a British government-funded mission. British-born astronauts have previously gone into orbit as US citizens t ... read more


SPACE TRAVEL
O3b Networks Launcher and payload integration are underway at Kourou

Arianespace underscores strong partnership with Japan during Tokyo meetings

O3b Networks' initial satellite is fueled for Arianespace's upcoming Soyuz launch from the Spaceport

Ariane Flight VA214's launch vehicle marks a preparation milestone

SPACE TRAVEL
Mars Rover Opportunity Examines Clay Clues in Rock

Opportunity Rides Into History For Offworld Drive

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Drills Second Rock Target

Mars Icebreaker Life Mission

SPACE TRAVEL
Moon being pushed away from Earth faster than ever

Bright Explosion on the Moon

NASA says meteor impact on the moon glowed like a star

Where on Earth did the moon's water come from

SPACE TRAVEL
Planning Accelerates For Pluto Encounter

'Vulcan' wins Pluto moon name vote

Public to vote on names for Pluto moons

The PI's Perspective: The Seven-Year Itch

SPACE TRAVEL
Critical Kepler Reaction Wheel Fails: Mission End In Sight

Sifting Through the Atmosphere's of Far-Off Worlds

New Method of Finding Planets Scores its First Discovery

Team Takes Part in Discovering New Planet

SPACE TRAVEL
ATK Hoping Tp Clean Up Rocketscience

Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser Testing Begins at NASA Dryden, Langley

A-1 Test Stand Houses First Full Engine in Nearly a Decade

Space tourism won't hurt environment: Branson

SPACE TRAVEL
China launches communications satellite

On Course for Shenzhou 10

Yuanwang III, VI depart for space-tracking missions

Shenzhou's Shadow Crew

SPACE TRAVEL
Asteroid 1998 QE2 To Sail Past Earth Nine Times Larger Than Cruise Ship

NASA's Asteroid Sample Return Mission Moves into Development

Dawn On Route From Vesta to Ceres

Nine-Year-Old Names Target of UA-led NASA Mission




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. 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 Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement