1614460746 this tiny round probe could explore caves on the moon

This Tiny, Round Probe Could Explore Caves on the Moon

A prototype developed by the university of würzburg of the daedalus probe will be landed in a lunar cave using a tether.
A prototype developed by the University of Würzburg of the Daedalus probe will be landed in a lunar cave using a tether. University of Würzburg

Most of the moon’s discovery is focused on its surface, but a trio of proposed missions to the European Space Agency (ESA) will head under the ground to explore the underground world.

The Moon has several lava tubes to detect, which were formed during the lava eruption and which leave a tube-shaped passage below the surface. These can be about 500 meters wide and have even been proposed as a location for humans, where they provide protection from radiation. But there has never been a mission to explore these tubes in depth, and the ESA wants to change that.

The ESA invited proposals for potential missions and developed three mission scenarios: first, scouts where to enter pits and caves from the surface, second, a probe that could be landed in a pit, and third, autonomous rovers. To locate tubes in depth. .

“Although the studies were very different in subject and approach, they all provided great insights into potential technologies for exploring and investigating the geology of the Moon’s subsurface,” said Loredana Bessone, study and project manager at ESAAVS and PANGA. In a statement “It has been a fascinating journey, and a great opportunity for ESA to seek out missions to explore the lunar caves.”

The round probe shown above will be lowered into a pit using a tether to look around and locate the first part of the underground cave system. Developed at the University of Wurzburg, it is named Daedalus and can move freely and record its environment using 3D LIDAR and stereo cameras. It can create a 3D map inside a cave to find a safe environment to identify resources or create habitat.

ESA shared this perpendicular view of entering a lunar lava tube, which will help you find out what the exploration might look like:

Travel scene in lunar lava tube
A visual credit of a visit in the Lunar Lava Tube: Conor Marsh, University of Manchester

The ESA says it will continue developing plans for future missions, which may one day include exploration below the lunar surface.

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