The UK has planned to send its first-ever rover to the lunar surface. SpaceBit, an innovative decentralized space startup based in the UK, is about to sign a contract with Astrobotic Technology, a US-based space robotics company, for launching a rover to the moon in 2021. Astrobotic will build the lunar lander for this mission.
In May 2019, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program selected Astrobotic to build rover landers for carrying its payloads to the Moon. For this task, the US space agency awarded $79.5 Million to Astrobotic.
SpaceBit stated that it is working to build the smallest lunar rover that is scheduled for launch in 2021. The lander will drop the payload, including rover from beneath, after reaching the lunar surface.
SpaceBit considered incorporating a unique feature in the new land rover. The company will equip legs, instead of wheels, for deep exploration of tubular caves formed from ancient lava flows on the moon, as wheel-based traveler might not work effectively in steep and rocky terrain.
On a related note, a few days back, a wanderer on the Red planet engaged itself in playing with the sand for some time. Although the rover can’t create sandcastles and other such stuff but can spot some traces through making its wheels imprints on the sand.
Interested Mars explorers are aware of the rover’s ability to carry out unique activities, such as drilling and clear examination of some remarkable objects through its close-up cameras. But this ground scuffing is its latest and unusual move. Keri Bean—a member of NASA’s Mars Exploration Mission team—wrote on Twitter that this activity was conducted carefully and intentionally.
Besides generating scuff patterns, the rover will closely visualize those patterns and the disturbed sand around it. Moreover, the rover will try to study the chemical composition of that spot and capture the images of its surroundings.