Lunar rovers are cool – but imagine how much cooler they’d be if they could also rappel. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University will try to make rappelling robots a reality, after having been selected by NASA as the recipient of a new $2 million research grant aimed at coming up with new technology to help robots explore ‘pits’ on the Moon.
Yes, pits, as distinct from craters, which are essentially surface features caused by meteorite impacts. These pits are more akin to sinkholes or caves on earth, with surface access but also with large underground hollow caverns and spaces that might provide easier access to minerals and water ice – and that [...]
While some of the details are still being worked out, it’s generally agreed that the Moon formed when a Mars-sized body collided with the early Earth. Some of the debris put into orbit by the collision would then go on to condense into the Moon.
One of the consequences of this is that the early Moon spent a lot of its history being bombarded by this debris, a process that should have left its surface molten. This magma ocean would only solidify slowly as the bombardment wound down, and the process of solidification should have left a mark on the [...]