The Polaris rover may look a little punk rock, but that mohawk is no fashion statement. It’s for catching solar rays which shine almost horizontally at the Moon’s north pole, a location Polaris is due to explore before 2016. Built by Astrobotic Technology, it’ll be ferried aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to our celestial companion, where it’ll drill into the surface in search of ice. The company, spun out of the Carnegie Mellon University, hopes to identify resources at a depth of up to four feet that could be used to support manned Moon expeditions in the future. The plan is to complete the mission during a 10-day window of sunlight, digging at up to 100 sites over a three-mile stretch. However, if it can live through the harsh two-week-long nights, then it may continue to operate “indefinitely.” NASA is backing the project, providing ice-prospecting gear and money, although Astrobotic hopes to get more cash for its work — over $20 million from Google’s Lunar X Prize. Right now, Polaris is a flight prototype and there are still improvements to be made, mainly on the software side, before it tackles the rough terrain. Check out the short video of its public unveiling below, although we don’t think the soundtrack quite matches the hairdo.
Continue reading Polaris rover will travel to the Moon in search of polar resources, try to survive the long lunar night
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Polaris rover will travel to the Moon in search of polar resources, try to survive the long lunar night originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 09 Oct 2012 15:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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