Indian Scientists Design Wireless Sensor Network To Find Water & Ice On Moon
By Srinivas Laxman | Top News
February 20, 2012
Scientists of the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory, an ISRO affiliate, are designing a new method of finding water and ice on the moon.
AsianScientist (Feb. 20, 2012) – Scientists of the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), an ISRO affiliate, are designing a new method of finding water and ice on the moon.
In a report published in the journal, Advances in Space Research, a publication of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), S. V. S. Murty and K. Durga Prasad propose a wireless sensor network for in situ probing of water and ice on the surface of the moon.
The report assumes significance because India, as a part of its long-term space plan strategy, is mulling over a human lunar landing after 2020.
“For a permanent or reusable base a local supply would be invaluable both for human needs in the form of water and oxygen, and for production of rocket fuel,” their report states.
This new project was announced during the 17th National Space Science Symposium at Tirupati, a joint endeavor of Sri Venkateshwara University and ISRO.
The scientists envision that their new technology “will become a potentially powerful tool for space and planetary exploration missions because of their unique capability of deployment, and autonomous data gathering tasks in an unfriendly and unattended environment. Besides, they can overcome the limitations of landers and rovers on planetary surfaces…,” they wrote in their report.
In the Chandrayaan-2 mission there will be a lander and rover. This mission, originally slated for lift off in 2013, could now be delayed because of the failure of the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission on which the lander for the Chandrayaan-2 was being tested. Russian space officials say that the revised launch date could now be in 2016.
The report further states that the mobility and operation of a lander or rover in the permanently shadowed regions of the moon is extremely challenging. In such a scenario a wireless sensor network has an advantage.
Pointing out that this system would be ideally suited for an area like the interior of the Shackleton crater near the moon’s South Pole, the report states that a laboratory prototype has already been designed.
The plan envisages a large number of tiny battery-operated computing devices being scattered on the moon’s surface with self-organizing capability.
“Although orbiter mission observations gave a clear indication of lunar water, in-situ investigations are necessary for further confirming the occurrence of water on the moon to understand its nature, distribution and the process of formation and accumulation,” the authors write.
It says that the devices can either be deployed by an orbiter or a rover.
“We have carried out simulations for both scenarios to estimate the number of nodes required their communication range for covering targeting areas,” they report.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.