Sunday, April 4, 2010

Europe Plans a Moon Lander

ESA is planning to land a probe in a lunar south polar crater by the end of this decade.  The landing site would be in an area of possible water ice.   ESA’s article on the mission lists the goals as “that it uses the latest navigation technology to fly a precise course from lunar orbit to the surface and touch down safely and accurately. On the way down, it must image the surface and recognize dangerous features by itself, using its own ‘intelligence’.  Then the Lander shall investigate this unique region with a suite of instruments. It will investigate the properties and possible health effects of radiation and lunar dust on future astronauts, and it will examine the soil for signs of resources that could be used by human explorers.”  The next step will be to further develop possible designs over the next 18 months.

Editorial Thoughts: I was unable to find much information on this lander and its goals.  This appears to be a technology development program run by ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight.  In its scope and goals, it appears to be similar to the proposed series of NASA Precursor missions that will prove new technologies and investigate possible locations for future manned flights.  Because the mission apparently will investigate sites with lunar ice, it has the potential of producing some good, original science.

Information on the overall program  

1 comment:

  1. More information: