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Destination Moon: Russia to Launch New Wave of Lunar Robots

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posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 09:12 AM
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Looks like Russia is bringing back their Luna robotic missions!

Russia to launch new wave of lunar robots


Russia is developing a renewed robotic moon exploration program, building upon the history-making legacy of orbiters, landers, rovers and sample-return missions the country launched decades ago. Russia's rekindling of an aggressive moon exploration plan was unveiled by Igor Mitrofanov of the Institute for Space Research (IKI) in Moscow during Microsymposium 54 on "Lunar Farside and Poles — New Destinations for Exploration," held in The Woodlands, Texas, on March 16 and 17.


Use the link to read the full story.

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Love to see this, as while I do have national pride for my country, the USA, seeing any country exploring space is always exciting for me! If we're not doing it, I'm very glad to see someone else is.

The interesting thing is the naming of these planned missions "Luna". The first of these, to be launched in 2015, is Luna 25.

As the article states, that is not just a number pulled out of the Air. The former Soviet Union enjoyed wild success with their lunar probe back in the 60's and 70's, with the Luna program being very successful.

Russia has had a lot of firsts with the moon:

First to impact with the moon. First to photograph the farside of the moon. First to do a soft landing on the moon. First to bring back samples and of course, the very first rover!

Considering their failure of their Phobos-Grunt Mars mission, it's good to see them get back on their feet and be doing something else.

So while I wish it was us that was doing things like this, I'm again, happy just to see it happening period. I wish them all the luck in the world and can't wait to read how it goes for them.




posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 03:19 PM
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I'm excited about this, not least because the new probes and rovers will have up-to-date instrumentation and cameras, giving us a view of the lunar landscape not seen since the Apollo landings. I hope there will be a colour digital camera, like on Curiosity, that will return colour images of the lunar surface. Some people argue that NASA hides from us the real colour of the Moon, and that it is really brown, or green, or any such colour.

There is a set of guidelines that ask all lunar mission organisers not to approach the Apollo landing sites too closely, nevertheless I hope Russian orbiters/landers/rovers will get closer views of those sites than we currently have with LRO.

S&F



posted on Apr, 3 2013 @ 08:23 PM
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Originally posted by eriktheawful
Love to see this, as while I do have national pride for my country, the USA, seeing any country exploring space is always exciting for me! If we're not doing it, I'm very glad to see someone else is.



So while I wish it was us that was doing things like this, I'm again, happy just to see it happening period. I wish them all the luck in the world and can't wait to read how it goes for them.


^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^ So much this... ^^^^^


Considering their failure of their Phobos-Grunt Mars mission, it's good to see them get back on their feet and be doing something else.


I agree! This is a great way to go, for them. Aside from their Venera missions, they've had lousy luck with their planetary probes. This well-conceived series of probes will let them develop & evolve their modern robotic technology quickly. Also. this aggressive, high-profile program can potentially inspire a whole new generation of would-be scientists, engineers, technologists and explorers. The repercussions and spin-offs will extend far beyond space science, and give a boost to Russian industry for decades to come.



Russia has had a lot of firsts with the moon:

First to impact with the moon. First to photograph the farside of the moon. First to do a soft landing on the moon. First to bring back samples ROBOTICALLY and of course, the very first rover!


*Ahem* FTFY.



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 05:36 AM
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Thanks for all your replies. Didn't mean to abandon my thread, but not being able to access ATS yesterday kinda made it impossible, hehehe.



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 09:13 AM
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reply to post by eriktheawful
 


I say more the merrier. Don't forget about Chang'e-3 orbiter-rover combo mission launching in a few months.




China will send a lunar probe to the surface of the moon in the second half of this year to achieve its first moon landing, China's top lunar exploration expert said on Sunday.

Chang'e-3, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, will be the country's third probe sent to the moon, but the first to actually reach the surface. It will be the country's first spacecraft to soft-land on a celestial body other than Earth, said Ye Peijian, consultant to the chief designer of Chang'e-3 and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

"The lunar probe is now undergoing the final testing before being transported to the launch site. Everything is going well," said Ye, who is also chief scientist in deep-space exploration with China Academy of Space Technology, which is affiliated with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Since there are only two launch windows in the second half of this year for sending the exploratory lunar probe into space, the team cannot afford for anything to go wrong, he said.

The probe, which includes a lander and a rover, has a complicated combination of tasks, including the probe soft-landing on the moon, the rover detaching from the lander and walking on the moon surface, surveying and exploring the lunar surface, transmitting data back to Earth.

"But simply put, if we can have the lander successfully soft-land on the moon and have the rover walk on the moon, this project can be called successful," he said.

The probe is scheduled to land on a plain called Sinus Iridum ("Bay of Rainbows"). Ye said there are four backup landing sites.

www.chinadaily.com.cn...


I am anxious to see if the Chinese landing will be successful and what kind of data they will be sharing with the public. Considering just how long well engineered rovers can stay in service using solar power alone as shown by Opportunity, Moon is a perpect target for a rover mission. Its topography is well understood and a good rover could in theory cover a lot of ground over many many years.
edit on 4-4-2013 by PINGi14 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 09:14 AM
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Originally posted by eriktheawful
Thanks for all your replies. Didn't mean to abandon my thread, but not being able to access ATS yesterday kinda made it impossible, hehehe.


Same problem for me.


Interesting news.


A new look on the moon....



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 09:41 AM
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reply to post by PINGi14
 




Considering just how long well engineered rovers can stay in service using solar power alone as shown by Opportunity, Moon is a perpect target for a rover mission. Its topography is well understood and a good rover could in theory cover a lot of ground over many many years.

I disagree.
The Moon has two weeks of sunshine then two weeks of total darkness. You will need motors to keep the panels pointed towards the Sun. Less than ideal for solar power. You will need bigger batteries and bigger panels.

Plus the dust on the Moon is sharp, angular and very suseptable for static cling. Very bad for bearing surfaces. The wear will be much higher for moving surfaces.



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 09:43 AM
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I hope it's a success and then we can revisit some members older threads re whats on the Moon some that are no longer with us and some that are, that could be fun
edit on 4-4-2013 by wmd_2008 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 10:12 AM
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Originally posted by samkent
reply to [url=http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread937638/pg1#pid16180701]post by overcome/url]
 




Considering just how long well engineered rovers can stay in service using solar power alone as shown by Opportunity, Moon is a perpect target for a rover mission. Its topography is well understood and a good rover could in theory cover a lot of ground over many many years.

I disagree.
The Moon has two weeks of sunshine then two weeks of total darkness. You will need motors to keep the panels pointed towards the Sun. Less than ideal for solar power. You will need bigger batteries and bigger panels.

Plus the dust on the Moon is sharp, angular and very suseptable for static cling. Very bad for bearing surfaces. The wear will be much higher for moving surfaces.



Your pessimism is noted. I didn't say it was going to be walk in the park. Your points are valid if not trivial engineering problems to be overcome in my opinion. The fact Moon lacks an atmosphere means solar panels won't degrade over time from wind blown dust accumulation as experienced by Opportuny and Spirit. I don't know why you see two week night/day cycle as an issue. Mars rovers have hibernated for months without problem. The biggest problem is probably finding rechargeable power cells that will perform under extreme temperature fluctuations.



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 10:48 AM
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All of these issues were successfully dealt with during the successful Lunokhod missions 40+ years ago. Both rovers exceeded their designed 3-month life spans. Lunokhod 1 lasted 11 months.


Encyclopedia Astronautica
Soviet Moon Images
LROC images of Lunokhod



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 06:10 PM
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Their rover mission will be several missions away (2020 I believe?). Their first rover up there exceeded it's mission parameters and lasted a lot longer, and that was with 1960's tech.

You are correct however about the amount of sun vs night up on the moon, But I can think of several ways to over come that, the least is to have the rover go into a "power save" mode during the night, to where a minimum amount of current is drawn during the 2 week night to keep it going.

In any case I find it exciting and will be cheering them on (while wishing that my own country would take just 2 percent of our military budget and give it to NASA.....which would double it's existing budget as it stands now).



posted on Apr, 5 2013 @ 10:51 AM
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reply to post by PINGi14
 




The fact Moon lacks an atmosphere means solar panels won't degrade over time from wind blown dust accumulation as experienced by Opportuny and Spirit.

I remember reading that the retro reflectors we placed have 'dusted' up since we placed them. IIRC it was due to dust rising up either during night or day. I don't remember exactly. Granted the effect must be small since we still use them.

But there will be far more dust kicked up by the wheels to deal with.

And the day/night cycle will be a big deal for rovers.
Mars gets darn cold at night. But the Moon approaches absolute.
Significant power will be required to keep electronics and batteries from freezing.



posted on Apr, 5 2013 @ 11:40 AM
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reply to post by samkent
 


This is why I think the lunar rover should have both the solar panels and the radioisotope thermoelectric generator. The latter will provide power and keep the systems warm during the lunar night.



posted on Apr, 5 2013 @ 01:35 PM
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If you use RTG then solar would be a waste of launch weight.



posted on Apr, 5 2013 @ 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by samkent
And the day/night cycle will be a big deal for rovers.
Mars gets darn cold at night. But the Moon approaches absolute.
Significant power will be required to keep electronics and batteries from freezing.



Again, this was dealt-with on Lunokhod:

Excerpt from Encyclopedia Astronautica
Power was supplied by a solar panel on the inside of a round hinged lid which covered the instrument bay. A Polonium-210 isotopic heat source was used to keep the rover warm during the lunar nights.





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