Canadian rover will search for ice on the far side of the Moon
The craft, which will run on the moon solar energy, will explore the South Pole in 2026.
This is the first lunar vehicle to be built in Canada, a mandate given by the Canadian Space Agency. (File photo)
The first lunar vehicle to be built in Canada will allow the Canadian Space Agency to play a vital role in space exploration. Its mission will be to search for ice under the surface of the Moon, including on what is called the far side of our planet's natural satellite.
The Moon rotates on its axis synchronously with its period of revolution. This is the reason why we only see one side of it.
It has always piqued our imagination: what is it? what's on the other side of the Moon? summarizes Gordon Osinski, the head of the Canadian mission.
Professor Osinski's team, in collaboration with other international partners, is preparing to send this 30 kg vehicle to the South Pole of the Moon in 2026 to determine if there is ice at all. a few meters below the lunar surface.
The ice discovery could serve as a springboard for further solar system explorations and even manned missions, says team member Chris Herd, who is also a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and of the atmosphere at the University of Alberta.
Prof Herd has previously participated in a rover mission to Mars. He explains that ice can be mined and used as a resource to enable astronauts to survive. It can be split into hydrogen and oxygen to produce fuel, which would avoid transporting these resources from Earth and save money.
< p>“It reduces the cost of sending humans to the Moon. This is the ultimate goal.
—Prof Gordon Osinski, Canadian Mission Leader
Prof Osinski points out that interest in lunar exploration has increased. increased over the past five years. There are increasing plans to send astronauts, as in the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
According to Professor Gordon Osinski, this is an “incredibly exciting” mission. (File Photo)
The robotic rover will play an integral role in realizing that dream, he adds.
Last November, the Canadian Space Agency awarded responsibility for the construction of this vehicle to an Ontario company, Canadensys. Canadensys will work with other partners to develop scientific equipment to be sent to the Moon.
Canadensys is working with six Canadian universities, including the x27; University of Sherbrooke, companies such as Montreal-based Maya HTT and Sherbrooke-based NGC Aérospatiale, as well as American and British partners.
The rover will have to be able to withstand extreme temperature variations on Earth's natural satellite, from -200°C at night to 100°C during the day. The craft will also need to withstand high radiation and transmit data over the few months of its mission.
The vehicle will run on solar power seven on seven, 24 hours a day, but it will have to be put on rest every 14 days.
Scientists won't just be looking for ice: they will also be analyzing the composition of the lunar rocky soil, in addition to studying radiation on the lunar surface to find out how much radiation astronauts will be exposed to when flying. possible manned missions.
On a mission to Mars, the Curiosity spacecraft is interested in the habitability of the red planet, while the Canadian robotic rover will be interested in the Moon. (File photo)
What the rover will do will be used to prepare for the next manned missions, underlines Christian Sallaberger, CEO of the Canadensys Aerospace Corporation.
< p class="e-p">If Canada will not be the first country to land on the far side of the Moon, it will be the first to explore the South Pole. Scientists hope to discover ice in the dark craters there.
China was the first country to send a rover, the Yutu-2, to the far side of Earth's satellite.
Professor Osinski wouldn't be surprised if other countries beat Canada to the far side of the Moon, but the mission remains incredibly exciting.
I almost have to stop myself from pinching myself once in a while. This is where my work has led me over the past few decades.