Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

PolyU gears up for Sino-Russian Interplanetary Space Mission

01.12.2008
PolyU is working closely with the Russian Space Agency in designing a state-of-the-art space tool which will be carried onboard a Russian spacecraft for the Red Planet in the 2009 Sino-Russian Space Mission.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is working closely with the well-established Russian Space Agency in designing a state-of-the-art space tool which will be carried onboard a Russian spacecraft for the Red Planet in the 2009 Sino-Russian Space Mission – the first strategic interplanetary collaboration between China and Russia.

This historical mission also marks the first interplanetary space mission by Russia since the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. This is also the first attempt in the history of mankind to land on the moon of a planet other than the Earth. This is also the first ever interplanetary sample return mission, and PolyU has been entrusted with the responsibility of designing a mission-critical space tool known as the "Soil Preparation System" (SOPSYS).

Dr Alexander V Zakharov, Chief Scientist of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Science and Project Scientist of the Phobos-Soil project, has made a special trip to the University this week and discussed stringent requirements for testing the qualifying model of this tool with PolyU engineering scientists working on the project.

The PolyU-developed sophisticated device weighs merely 400 grams and measures slightly larger than a cigarette pack. It will be capable of grinding and sifting Phobos rock to the size of less than 1mm in diameter for in situ analysis by the Lander. This procedure is considered a crucial step in understanding the evolution of the universe and in searching for possible signs of life on the extraterrestrial planet.

The aerospace authorities of the two nations agreed to jointly probe Mars and its innermost moon Phobos, following the signing of space collaboration agreement as witnessed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin on 26 March 2007. According to mission schedule, Russia will launch an explorer carrying a Chinese satellite and a lander installed with PolyU-made device to collect samples of Phobos soil.

The objectives of this inter-planetary space mission are to collect soil samples from Phobos, a satellite of Mars and to bring the samples back to Earth for comprehensive scientific research into Phobos, Mars and Martian space.

This collaboration with Russian Space Agency is made possible with the unremitting efforts of PolyU Fellow Dr Ng Tze-chuen, who is a dentist by profession; and Prof. Yung Kai-leung, Associate Head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. They have put much effort in negotiating with space authorities and showed their experience of developing space tools and working with the Russian Space Agency and European Space Agency. SOPSYS is designed and manufactured by Prof. Yung and engineers of PolyU's Industrial Centre, with the full support of the Centre's Director Dr Chris Wong Ho-ching. The system is currently near the final stage of development, and will be ready for the mission by the end of this year.

The University has a wealth of experience in developing space tools and for space agencies over the years. The development of space tool by PolyU researchers can be dated back to 1995 with the launch of the Space Holiner Forceps for Russian astronauts working on the MIR Space Station. The Holinser Forceps, which function like a pair of dental forceps, were developed by PolyU engineers from a concept initiated by Dr Ng. The idea was further developed into the Space Forceps System which consists of 70 inter-connectable components for used by astronauts in space. In 1995, four sets of Holinser Forceps were ordered by the Russian Space Agency for use by astronauts in precision soldering at the MIR Space Station.

In 2003, PolyU scientists also developed the Mars Rock Corer which was carried onboard the Beagle 2 Lander in a spacecraft of the European Space Agency's Mars Express Mission. Although the Beagle 2 Lander reportedly crashed on the surface of Mars, but Dr Ng and PolyU researchers never give up their dream for space exploration.

Arthur Chan | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino
16.07.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication
16.07.2018 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>