The lunar lander scheduled to launch next week will have a special set of four eyes to track how the spacecraft's drive shaft interacts with the lunar surface.
Intuitive Machines IM-1 Nova-C moon The lander is currently scheduled to be launched on a SpaceX vehicle Falcon 9 A rocket launched from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida on Valentine's Day (February 14) at 12:57 a.m. EDT (0557 GMT).
The lander, called Odysseus, carries 12 payloads, half of which are commercial and half from NASA. One such camera is the Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume Surface Studies (SCALPSS), developed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and positioned around the base of the long, hexagon-shaped lander.
Related: SpaceX is targeting February 14 to launch its Intuitive Machines IM-1 lunar mission
SCALPSS 1.0 will be active during the descent of the lunar lander and will observe how the lunar surface is affected and changed by the Odysseus thrusters. The experiment uses stereophotogrammetry, where overlapping images from cameras are used to create a 3D view of the lunar surface, allowing detailed analysis of surface changes after landing.
The results will help scientists and engineers predict the effects of lunar landings, an important issue for NASA's Artemis program that aims to return humans to the moon and establish a long-term presence on the lunar surface. Concerns include potential corrosion or damage to nearby equipment caused by the landing shaft.
“If we put things — landers, habitats, etc. — close together, we can sandblast what's next to us, so that will increase the requirements for protecting those other assets on the surface, which can add mass,” Michele said. “Mass ripples through the architecture,” Munk, SCALPSS principal investigator and acting chief engineer for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, told NASA. statement. “It's all part of an integrated engineering problem.”
It will take the SCALPSS team at least two months to process the images, verify the data and create 3D digital elevation maps, according to NASA. But hard work will help plan future missions and ensure safe landings on the moon.
The IM-1 Nova-C lander will attempt to become the first private spacecraft to successfully land on the lunar surface.
It follows SpaceIL's failed Israeli company Beresheet And the Japanese company iSpace Hakuto-R Moon landing missions in 2019 and 2023, and loss Space robots Al Shaheen early this year. Peregrine struggled in the end The fuel leak that ended the mission Shortly after it separated from the upper stage of a Vulcan Centaur rocket.
Like Peregrine, Odysseus is part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. This initiative is part of NASA's broader Artemis program.
Another CLPS mission – Firefly Aerospace's Blue Ghost – is scheduled to carry SCALPSS 1.1 later this year. This upgraded version will contain two additional cameras.
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