The South Pole is important for establishing a presence on the moon. There are large amounts of water ice in the shadows of the craters. Water ice is water, oxygen, and rocket fuel.
The region is not visible in the daytime.
The last time astronauts walked on the moon, science had advanced a lot. Another generation of explorers will be going to the moon soon. While the Apollo astronauts faced many unknowns on their missions, we now have a better understanding of the lunar environment.
We know the location of the water ice on the Moon and how much it is. The moon has a lot of water in its polar craters, according to a study. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at the time that there was hundreds of billions of tons of water ice on the moon.
Some parts of the Moon are 10 times richer in titanium than the Earth. We know that there is a lot of iron and magnesium. The terrain on the moon holds rare-earth elements that are important in electronics manufacturing.
We have maps that show pathways we can follow. We know where the safest landing spots are and where the most interesting are. The sunlit areas of the Moon are open for exploration by solar-powered rovers.
The poles are not the same thing. The moon is not seasonless because of its tilt of 23.4 degrees. The Moon is only about 1.5 degrees away from being a single continuous season. The Moon has no well-lit winter to aid exploration by a solar powered rover. The variations are more pronounced at the poles.
The lower elevation in craters is almost completely dark because of the Sun's angle. The high elevation areas are not easy to navigate. A new study shows how a series of routes and traverses could open up the lunar south pole to exploration by a rover.
The study is about the south pole sites of interest for lunar exploration. There will be a paper in the journal. The NASA Johnson Space Centre, NASA headquarters, and Jacobs Technology are where the authors are from. Erwan MazarICO is the author.
NASA wants to understand how the Moon can be used as a base for further exploration of the Solar System in the future. It's difficult and expensive to launch everything needed for solar system exploration. The resources on the Moon can be used to explore the rest of the Solar System.
The Moon is being used as a proving ground to develop technologies that will help NASA. Cutting-edge discoveries along the way and the development of expertise go together.
Water is a crucial part of this endeavor. Oxygen, hydrogen, and water ice come from the moon. NASA needs to open the region to exploration since the majority of the Moon's water ice is at the south pole. The shadows that make up the water are also obstacles to its exploitation.
Mobility is the most important thing about Artemis. Mobile rovers are required for all activities. Mars rovers don't need power from the sun. There are multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generators. It costs over 100 million dollars to build a MMR TG. Their fuel is difficult to produce. It is hard to store because it decays.
The Moon has a lot of solar energy because it is so close to the sun. There are elevated locations at the south pole that are free from shadows. They have a good position in regards to solar power. Is it possible that they are accessible? The authors of the new paper say that it has not been established whether travel between these sites can be done.
There is a new paper coming in. The study shows how routes through the lunar south pole can provide enough sunlight to travel through the region. The goal of the study is to show that there are trips between distant well-lit sites.
The researchers found a way for a rover to follow that would cut off from the sun's power. Depending on the design of the rover, more challenging trips may be doable. These trips could be expanded by higher speeds or the ability to drive in the dark.
The team used the data from the LOTA instrument to make their trips.
The LRO is a vehicle that flies over the moon. They used software to find the routes, and the software calculates the least-cost path from a source to a destination, considering the route length, terrain slope, and the terrain average solar illumination.