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NASA supports a project to build autonomous railways on the moon

NASA supports a project to build autonomous railways on the moon

NASA chose the FLOAT project, in which researchers propose to build the first railway system on the Moon to transport goods

May 7
2024
– 6:45 pm

(Updated at 9:30 p.m.)

a NASA It has just revealed selected concept studies for the Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) programme, which include ideas that go beyond the future. One such proposal is the FLOAT project, which proposes an elevated railway system The surface of the moon.

Image: NASA/Canaltech

The idea is that the floating rods (short for “flexible lift on rods,” in free translation) are placed directly in the lunar regolith, meaning that little advance preparation is required. The robots will then fly along the tracks; Since they have no wheels or legs, the lunar terrain would not be a problem for them.

The rods, in turn, will be flexible structures with a layer of graphite, allowing magnetic levitation while the circuit generates electromagnetic pulses. This last feature is optional, but as it will be Solar panelwould eliminate the need for external power to operate the system.

The FLOAT authors suggest that this would be an independent, reliable and efficient way to move payloads. According to them, FLOAT can carry cargo from spacecraft landing zones to lunar bases, and also provide regolith transportation. According to the team, 100 tons of material can be transported daily.

What the FLOAT project's lunar railway would look like (Photo: Reproduction/Ethan Schaler)

What the FLOAT project’s lunar railway would look like (Photo: Reproduction/Ethan Schaler)

Photo: ChannelTech

It may seem as if the suggestion came from a sci-fi movie, but know that FLOAT is just one of the concepts chosen to advance to the next stage. Others include new propulsion systems, which will be used to reduce flight time Journey to MarsAnd even a liquid space telescope – which is conceptual, of course.

Now that the FLOAT project has advanced to the next stage, its researchers will work to design and produce a scaled-down version of the system. If all goes well, the device could be tested in a simulation of the lunar environment, showing the team how characteristics of the environment affect trajectories and robots.

source: NASA

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