Scientists are developing a GPS navigation system for the Moon


22/07/2008

It is known that in 2020 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has planned to fly to the moon. However, the scientists was a question that must be addressed before the start of the program. The astronauts will not be able to use the global navigation system (GPS) for orienteering, as the moon is simply no GPS satellites.

To solve this problem, NASA has allocated $ 1.2 million to develop over the next three years, a navigation system similar to GPS, but the signals for which will come from a number of sensors including lunar beacons, stereo cameras, and orbital imaging sensors.

At the head of the new project will be Ron Lee (Ron Li), a scientist who previously worked on the software for the Mars rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity". During the missions, the Mars rovers, researchers had studied the subtleties of navigation in extraterrestrial environments. Development of new technologies, including a variety of sensors, inertial navigation systems, cameras, computer processors and processors for processing video images to help facilitate the work of the astronauts on the moon.

People are used to having certain visual cues to judge distances, such as the size of the building or another car on the horizon. But the moon has no such cues. Lost or not properly assess the size and location of the remote object is very easy and extremely dangerous. In past missions to the moon, for example, the astronauts went to one of the scheduled areas (crater), but before reaching the goal, had to return for security reasons. They stopped a few meters from the crater and turned back, they just did not see it because of the complexity of the lunar landscape.

Security astronauts - pervoprioritetnaya objective of the project. It will be attended not only engineers, but also psychologists who will be engaged in the process of human interaction with computers in the lunar environment.

Lee explained how to work the system. Images taken from orbit will combine with images from the surface to create a map of the lunar landscape. Motion sensors on the lunar rover and the astronauts themselves will allow computers to calculate the location of people and equipment. Signals from lunar beacons, landing stage and the main station astronauts will transfer an image of their environment, similar to the one seen drivers in the world, using a GPS navigator. The researchers named the system system of spatial orientation and information for the astronauts on the Moon (Lunar Astronaut Spatial Orientation and Information System, LASOIS).

According to the plan, Lee and his team will create a prototype navigation system and will travel to the Mojave Desert to test the results and identify gaps. The third year of development is likely to come to the testing of the system on NASA astronauts. News First, download and upload news ticker on your page.

Original: Sciencedaily


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