Scientists Make Flying Saucers to Explore Asteroids and the Moon

Space exploration missions are carried out by humans one after another. One of them is a mission plan to explore the Moon, where scientists plan to make technology to support this exploration by making a 'flying saucer'. This spacecraft, which is shaped like a flying saucer, is projected to explore the surface of the Moon and the surface of space objects such as asteroids. According to the Science Alert page, the flying saucer will be powered by an electric field that is formed due to direct exposure to the Sun and the plasma around it. In the absence of an atmosphere, this exposure to the Sun creates a charge that can levitate objects more than a meter above the Moon's surface. The flying saucer-shaped rover will be made of a material known as Mylar. These materials naturally have the same charge when exposed to sunlight. Next, the tiny ion beams will be used to power the spacecraft as it explores the Moon and increase its natural surface charge.

"With the rover's ability to levitate, you don't have to worry about wheels or other moving parts anymore," said Paulo Lozano of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

According to the research team, this rover like a flying saucer has advantages, one of which is its light weight. The thing scientists make the flying saucer, can make this Moon rover more fuel efficient and also compact. For information, heavier loads will require a lot of fuel and require a lot of money in launching a spacecraft in the form of a flying saucer to the Moon. In addition, with a shape resembling a flying saucer, large asteroids such as Psyche can also be explored. This makes it easier for experts to inspect rocky objects up close with a vehicle that is okay with uneven surfaces.

"The terrain of an asteroid can be very uneven, and as long as you have a controlled mechanism to keep the rover afloat, then you can traverse very rough and unexplored terrain, without physically dodging the asteroid," Lozano said.

Oliver Jia-Richards, NASA Space Technology Researcher from MIT also thinks with this technology, the rover could even be used for the Hayabusa mission launched by the Japanese space agency.

"We think future missions could send small, hovering rovers to explore the surface of the Moon and other asteroids."

Although it's still a plan, the researchers themselves have already tested their idea in the laboratory and have succeeded in making a small, palm-sized vehicle weighing about 60 grams to levitate. However, further modeling is needed to make the explorer able to hover at the appropriate height. Research on the 'flying saucer' spacecraft being developed for this lunar exploration and exploration mission has been published in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.


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