NASA’s tiny lunar rover failed to perform a critical operation scheduled for Monday (November 21), but the CubeSat may still be able to salvage its water-hunting mission.
LunaH-Map was designed to map the distribution and abundance of hydrogen, and thus water ice, near the lunar south pole. Such data are of great interest to NASA. artemis programaims to build a manned research outpost in the region.
of cube sat NASA officials said an engine ignition was planned during Monday’s flyby, but failed, presumably because a propulsion system valve was stuck.
But not all is necessarily lost. LunaH-Map’s other systems appear to be functioning normally, and heating the valves may release them, bringing the propulsion system online as well.
“If the propulsion system can achieve thrust within the next few months, the mission could restore some or all of LunaH-Map’s original scientific mission,” a NASA official said. updated on tuesday (opens in new tab) (November 22). “Alternative trajectories are available for achieving lunar orbit, including trajectories that allow low-altitude measurements of the moon’s surface in the spacecraft’s current path.”
And even if it takes longer to fix current glitches, LunaH-Map can find work further afield, NASA officials explained in an update. content. “
LunaH-Map, led by researchers at Arizona State University, isn’t the only Artemis 1 cubesat to have problems after being deployed by the mission. space launch system rocket. For example, the Japanese OMOTENASHI spacecraft experienced communication problems, failed to drop a small lander on the moon as a result.
Artemis 1, the first mission of the Artemis program, is sending an unmanned Orion capsule on an almost 26-day journey to and from lunar orbit.
Orion is scheduled to slip into a distant retrograde orbit around Earth’s natural satellite on Friday (November 25). The capsule will spend about a week there before returning to Earth and landing in the ocean on December 11th.
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