It’s just over fifty years since man last set foot on the moon and every year since then we’ve seen an explosion in new space technology making it possible to see and travel further into space than ever before.
In the new episode of Undercover Engineers, we’re taking a look at some cool developments in space technology which is helping us get back to the moon, like interplanetary internet!
Can we travel to Mars?
Not quite yet…
There has been a raft of missions to the red planet, with the latest rover from NASA— Perseverance operating there since 2021.
However, our moon has given us the potential to try out new missions that may well provide a stepping stone to missions to Mars.
Introducing Artemis!Embed from Getty Images
The Artemis Space Programme is an exciting mission involving a number of countries and space agencies, including NASA and the European Space Agency.
It will send humans, including the first woman and first person of colour, back to the moon later this decade.
Astronauts will travel from Earth on an Orion space craft that will take them to the moon’s orbit where they’ll transfer into a craft called Gateway where they can work or wait for transport onto the moon’s surface in a Starship Human Landing System.
Once on the moon, astronauts will live and work in the Artemis Base Camp, which includes a modern lunar cabin, a rover and a mobile home.Embed from Getty Images
How does that get us to Mars?
Well, put simply, creating a base on the moon and developing technology will help us, in time, to travel to other planets – like Mars – kind of like using the Moon as a stepping stone.Embed from Getty Images
Top 3 mission ideas… that haven’t happened yet!
Now whilst Artemis and other missions, like Elon Musks’ Space X programme, are very much underway, there’s some ideas that haven’t yet happened!
The projects are the latest elements of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts programme.
1) Smart Space SuitEmbed from Getty Images
NASA’s current spacesuit designs are old, cumbersome and ill-equipped for future missions.
SmartSuit is an attempt to upgrade these vital outfits.
It incorporates soft robotics, stretchable self-healing skin and integrated sensors that collect and display data to the wearer.
2) ShapeshifterEmbed from Getty Images
A shapeshifting robot!
Now, whilst shapeshifting is typically found in science fiction, NASA’s betting it could work in space.
NASA funded a flying amphibious robot that mutates into different devices.
Dubbed Shapeshifter, it comprises a number of smaller units that can collectively morph into robotic balls, flight arrays and torpedo-like swimmers.
3) Project RAMAEmbed from Getty Images
Project RAMA proposes a scalable way of exploring the solar system.
This mission converts entire ASTEROIDS into enormous spacecraft!
The plan is to use robotic processes to turn asteroid elements into automatic programmes, cutting the costs of rocket launches from Earth by manufacturing technology in space.
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