The Canadian Space Agency and NASA test lunar technologies
Longueuil, Quebec, July 10, 2012 – At the invitation of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) begins a joint nine-day field test today in a volcanic area near Hilo, Hawaii, to test technologies and concepts for lunar exploration.
Dubbed RESOLVE (short for "Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction"), the project will demonstrate how future explorers could extract water and other useful resources from the lunar soil at potential polar landing sites. Terrestrial field work, like the RESOLVE mission, allows scientific and technical teams to test exploration concepts in a cost-efficient manner to reduce the risks in designing future missions.
The CSA is contributing the following Canadian-built equipment to the NASA RESOLVE field mission:
- The Artemis Junior terrestrial rover will serve as the semi-autonomous mobile platform for payloads, including NASA instruments designed to prospect for water ice and other lunar resources;
- Destin, a versatile onboard drill and sample transfer system; and
- Q6 Stack, an avionics suite consisting of a powerful, low-mass and low-power hybrid processors and interface modules, which will control the RESOLVE system.
The RESOLVE field work will be conducted in an environment similar to the Moon. In fact, the lava-covered mountain's soil and dust is quite similar to that in the ancient volcanic plains on the Moon. The Canadian rover's small size, versatile tools and robust equipment make RESOLVE suitable for any kind of investigation work, whether exploring the Moon or digging into Martian soil.
Work done here on Earth through missions like RESOLVE helps prepare the international space community for its eventual next steps in space exploration. In the future, unmanned missions will set out to explore areas humans have never visited. Robotic explorers will analyze and transform matter samples, for instance to confirm the existence of frozen water in the polar regions.
NASA is hosting a media day on July 19 at 9 a.m. HST. Reporters should contact Amber Philman at 321-431-4970 (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Tuesday, July 17, to attend. Access to the test site requires an escort and a letter of assignment on company letterhead for credentials.
The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, also hosts the collaborative mission.
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