Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

PolyU-made space tool sets for inter-planetary mission

03.11.2011
A Russian spacecraft carrying the state-of-the-art space tool made by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is set to embark on a one-year space journey to the Red Planet at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8 November 2011 Moscow time.

A Russian spacecraft carrying the state-of-the-art space tool made by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is set to embark on a one-year space journey to the Red Planet at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8 November 2011 Moscow time.


Copyright : The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

This historical mission, also known as the "Phobos-Grunt" (which means soil of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars), marks the first strategic interplanetary collaboration between China and Russia. This is also the first interplanetary mission of Russia after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. PolyU has been entrusted with the responsibility of designing a mission-critical space tool known as the "Soil Preparation System" (SOPSYS) for the Sino-Russian Mars Mission.

Of interest to the scientific community will be the mission's first bold attempt in the history of mankind to land on the Martian moon Phobos and collect soil sample for in-situ analysis. If the mission goes as planned, the spacecraft carrying both PolyU-made space tool and Chinese satellite Yinghuo-1 will go near the Red Planet in November 2012. The explorer will then release Yinghuo-1 into orbit around Mars; and seek to release the Lander carrying PolyU-made SOPSYS onto the surface of the potato-shaped Martian moon Phobos.

SOPSYS weighs merely 400 grams and measures slightly larger than a cigarette pack. It is capable of grinding and sifting Phobos rock to the size of less than 1mm in diameter and then from it into a plug of measured size for in situ analysis. This procedure is considered a crucial step in understanding the evolution of the universe and the formation of the planet Mars.

PolyU researchers have been working closely with IKI (Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Science) and the Russian aerospace company NPO Lavochkin in testing the functionality of SOPSYS under extreme environment. 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, also visited PolyU and discussed the stringent requirements for testing the qualifying model of this tool with PolyU engineering scientists working on the project.

The aerospace authorities of China and Russia 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 former Russian President Vladimir Putin on 26 March 2007 during a state visit of Chairman Hu to Russia. Apart from in-situ analysis, the probe will also be making a Mars-Earth return journey to study the soil sample and the effect of cosmic radiation on the Life capsule containing bacteria onboard the spacecraft.

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 Professor Yung Kai-leung, Associate Head of the University's 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.

The University has a wealth of experience in developing space tools and for space agencies over the years. SOPSYS is also designed by Professor Yung and locally manufactured at the University' Industrial Centre.

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 designed and developed by PolyU scientists and 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 designed and 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, PolyU researchers never give up their dream for space exploration. Professor Yung is also involved in designing the "Camera Pointing System" for Phase 2 of China's lunar exploration programme, which will be carried on board the Chang'e-3 spacecraft scheduled to be launched towards the end of 2012.

Press contact: Mr Wilfred Lai
Division Head (Media and Community Relations)
Tel: (852) 2766 5218
Email: pawilfred@inet.polyu.edu.hk

Associated links
http://www.polyu.edu.hk/cpa/polyu/index.php?search=&press_section=&press_category=All&press_date=&mode=pressrelease&
Itemid=223&option=com_content&page=1&order=desc&orderby=news_date&press_
id=2177&lang=en

Regina Yu | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A one-way street for light
14.11.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht TU Graz researchers develop new 3D printing for the direct production of nanostructures
14.11.2019 | Technische Universität Graz

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: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

Im Focus: Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

Im Focus: A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'

The algorithm represents a first step in the automated learning of quantum information networks

Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...

Im Focus: Distorted Atoms

In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.

An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

Smart lasers open up new applications and are the “tool of choice” in digitalization

30.10.2019 | Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Theoretical tubulanes inspire ultrahard polymers

14.11.2019 | Materials Sciences

Can 'smart toilets' be the next health data wellspring?

14.11.2019 | Health and Medicine

New spin directions in pyrite an encouraging sign for future spintronics

14.11.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>