Shoe box-size Rover will explore the lunar surface

Mission to be sent in 2021 as part of NASA’s Artemis program, which wants to land humans on the Moon in 2024

CubeSats, small satellites used for space research, have revolutionized orbital science and, soon, they can do the same with surface science, starting with the pitted surface of the Moon, when they are transformed into small rovers.

In 2021, NASA, as part of the lunar mission orchestrated by the American space robotics company Astrobotic, will send a small rover, called Iris, which will be the first in a series of simple equipment called CubeRovers, in reference to the CubeSats. The intention is that they are semi-standardized and inexpensive devices for production and launch.

“For such a small space vehicle, the Iris has a great mission to take the United States back to the moon, and I am very proud to lead this team of passionate students who are paving the way for future planetary robotic exploration,” said Raewyn Duvall , deputy manager of the Iris mission and doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University, USA. “We are all excited about the launch of Iris, with a space vehicle on the lunar surface and with what we can discover,” he added.


Surface of the Moon. Image: Nasa

Now NASA, Astrobotic and Carnagie Mellon University are united to launch Iris in 2021, as part of the Artemis program, which aims to land humans on the Moon in 2024.

If everything goes as planned, the CubeRover travel about 49 meters on a journey that should give scientists an idea of ​​how to walk on the dusty surface of the Moon. In addition, Iris will be taken away from the landing site of the Peregrine module, probe from Astrobotic that will transport the rover there, so that researchers can understand how the landing of objects alters the surface of the natural satellite.

Despite being the size of a shoe box and weighing only 2.3 kg, Iris is being equipped with a camera that will mark the moment with a photo sent to Earth.


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