Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lunar exploration – Potential UK and NASA collaboration

15.02.2008
The British National Space Centre [BNSC] and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA ] have today [15th February 2008] issued a report from the Joint Working Group(JWG) on lunar exploration that outlines next steps in possible U.K.-U.S. space exploration cooperation.

A key area of cooperation under consideration is a mission to understand the Moon’s structure, listen for ‘Moonquakes’ and trial the lunar cell-phone network of the future.

The JWG report identified two potential elements of collaboration:
•the implementation of a UK led robotic lunar mission, such as the Moon Lightweight Interior and Telecoms Experiment (MoonLITE) mission;

•the development of science instruments and technology needed for mid-term robotic and human exploration activities.

Commenting on the report Professor Keith Mason, CEO Science and Technology Facilities Council and Chairman of the UK Space Board [BNSC governing body], said,’ This joint report represents a milestone in our cooperation with NASA whilst building upon our longstanding collaboration in such highly successful science missions as Swift, Stereo, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Cassini. The proposed missions provide an opportunity to harness the UK’s world-class expertise in small satellite, communication and robotic technologies focused on exploration of the Moon.”

MoonLITE is a proposed UK led small robotic mission to the Moon. It comprises a satellite which would travel to the Moon, enter its orbit and then release three or four ‘penetrators’ - small missile-like vehicles – distributed over the Moon’s surface. Each penetrator would impact at high speed and embed instruments just under the Moon’s surface designed to reveal the interior structure of the Moon. The satellite orbiter would then act as a telecommunications relay station between the surface penetrators and earth during their 1 year life.

MoonLITE would deliver important new science about the Moon’s interior and history while also testing the space communications network needed by future robotic and human explorers. The US and UK have enjoyed a long history of successful space cooperation. MoonLITE would build on this success and allow both partners the opportunity to take advantage of their particular strengths. NASA is considering several technologies and experiments as potential US contributions to the UK mission.

The proposed next steps involve an international scientific ‘peer-review’ and a more detailed technical study of MoonLITE leading to a definitive cost estimate before a decision to go-ahead is taken. The launch date for MoonLITE is scheduled for no earlier than 2012.

Professor Mason added,” This joint report between the UK and NASA, coupled with the UK’s major role in ESA’s Aurora programme of planetary exploration and our involvement in helping to shape a Global Exploration Strategy, means the UK is fully exploiting and strategically maximising its technological and scientific strengths in space exploration”.

The BNSC-NASA JWG originated from a Joint Statement of Intent for Cooperation in the Field of Space Exploration signed by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and UK Director General for Science and Innovation Sir Keith O’Nions on April 19, 2007, in Washington, DC.

Peter Barratt | alfa
Further information:
http://www.stfc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich

nachricht Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>