NASA is planning a manned mission to the moon in the middle of 2025. As the agency prepares to return to our natural satellite after 50 years, the agency has announced the development of a high-tech backpack that will help astronauts create a 3D map of the lunar terrain, to read the place and make it easier for them not to get lost.
Called the KNaCK (Kinetic Navigation and Mapping Bag), or Kinetic Navigational Backpack, the accessory contains a real-time navigation system, firing lasers to measure distance and nearby objects, as well as surface features.
With the device, the astronauts will have some kind of 3D map of the moon with high resolution.
“As humans, we tend to orient ourselves based on landmarks – a building or trees. That doesn’t exist on the Moon,” NASA planetary scientist Michael Zanetti said in a statement on the space agency’s website.
“Then, [a mochila] KNaCK will help explorers walk on the moon’s surface to determine their movements, directions, directions, and distance from their base of operations. They can even locate specific locations where they find unique minerals or rock formations so that others can study them later.”
According to Zanetti, the backpack makes an accurate topographic map of the landscape, including valleys, mountains, and caves. Like some iPhones, the backpack will have lidar sensors. It emits laser pulses to help obtain location information about the user – cars with semi-autonomous driving often also have this type of sensor.
Having distance details in a place like the moon is crucial. Since astronauts will have a limited supply of oxygen, knowing when to travel is critical to the success of missions.
At the moment, the Trumbo backpack is still 18 kg. NASA hopes to shrink it down by 2025 to make it more mobile for astronauts. At the moment, Zanetti himself is testing mountains on Earth for topographic analysis.
In a second, the agency intends to include the same backpack sensors in Rovers (jeeps). Since GPS doesn’t work on our natural satellite – the location of the apps and devices we use depends on the satellites in Earth’s orbit – this device can work almost like a “Moon Waze”.
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