Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Universe Today (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

NASA is Going Ahead With a Hopping Lander to Explore the Lunar Surface

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Methods of movement for robotic explorers of other worlds have been as varied as the worlds themselves. Some missions have been simple landers, some rovers, and now there’s even been a helicopter flight on Mars.  But there is an unexplored hybrid mode of movement that will soon be coming to a Moon near you – hopping.  NASA just granted an additional $41.6 million to support development of a hopping lunar lander that will explore the inside of craters that are permanently in shadow.

The mission, known as Micro-Nova, was granted as part of NASA’s $370 million “Tipping Point” contract for technologies that are developing milestone-based new technologies.  The $41.6 million was awarded to Intuitive Machines, a Texas-based company that specializes in developing autonomous systems for drones and other exploration technologies.  To be clear – the “hopping” the Micro-Nova will do is actually a control flight using thrusters rather than the more biological form of hopping that insects do on Earth. The company won’t be working alone on the project – they recruited scientists from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.  

Intuitive Machines video discussing the Micro-Nova Hopper
Credit – Intuitive Machines YouTube Channel

Those specialists will help to define what Micro-Nova will carry as part of its 1 kg payload.  Most likely it will involve cameras to peer into areas that no person has ever seen before.  The reason Micro-Nova uses its unique mobility technique is to peer into “permanently shaded regions” (PSRs) of the moon.  Rovers would be unable to descend into the craters, and helicopters wouldn’t work with the moon’s lack of atmosphere.  So a hopper is the best bet to reach these difficult environments.

They are not just difficult because they are hard to reach – they are also hard to observe and extraordinarily cold.  Even once Micro-Nova is in the crater, it will still only be able to take full color spectra images of its immediate surroundings, but it should be able to take black-and-white images of a wider swath of the whole crater.  Any information it is able to gather is better than the complete lack available right now at least.

Conceptual illustration of permanently shadowed, shallow icy craters near the lunar south pole.
Conceptual illustration of permanently shadowed, shallow icy craters near the lunar south pole.

Cold is a completely separate problem, with temperatures in these permanently dark areas dipping to 40°-80° Kelvin (-388° to -316° F).  Most electronics will not function at those temperatures, and even the materials themselves would fail if they were not especially designed to withstand them.

That is a lot to expect from a hopper that measures only 76.2 centimeters on a side.  But with the moon’s miniscule gravity and the hopper’s impressive leaping ability, it should be able to achieve its mission when it is dropped off by a Nova-C lander near the lunar south pole in December 2022.

Learn More:
ASU – NASA funds hopper to explore lunar polar craters
The Science Times – NASA Awards Over $41 Million Fund for Lunar Hopper to Hop Around Moon’s Surface, Takes First Pictures Inside Craters
Intuitive Machines – Intuitive Machines and NASA Finalize Contract for Extreme Lunar Mobility Spacecraft
NASA – 2020 NASA Tipping Point Selections

Lead Image:
Artist’s depiction of the Micro-Nova hopper and it’s Nova-C landing craft deployed to the moon.
Credit – Intuitive Machines

The post NASA is Going Ahead With a Hopping Lander to Explore the Lunar Surface appeared first on Universe Today.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Total 1 comment
    • raburgeson

      The government has been given every chance to come clean about the moon. Throw yourselves to the mercy of the people now before PA releases the facts. It will go very bad for you if you don’t. The time is very near and the lie is over 70 years old.

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.