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NASA in Silicon Valley Live - Robotic Exploration of the Moon
Hey, everybody welcome to this episode of NASA in Silicon Valley. Live for Tober eleventh, twenty eighteen. I'm your host Abby Taber, and today we're going to be talking all about robotic exploration of the moon, and we have some really fascinating guests with us. But first let me introduce my co host, Cassandra bell. Hey, hi. So this is NASA in Silicon Valley. Live a conversational, talk show out of NASA Ames research center with various scientists, engineers, and researchers, and all around cool people at NASA to talk about all the nerdy NASA news. You need to know about if you like that we're simultaneously live on twitch. That is twitch. Dot TV, slash NASA, and we're also on Facebook and YouTube. And if you wanted to live in our chat, gotta catch us on twitch. But if you want, if you miss a live show, we will be on demand after the fact on. NASA TV, and we also have the podcast for an audio version if you like that better. So today we have with us, our guest Tony cola preach and Kimberly Eneco Smith. Thank you both for being here and can tell us a little bit about what you both do. Thanks. I'm a planetary scientist here at NASA. Ames have been here by fifteen years, almost exactly fifteen years and as a planetary scientist and mostly study planetary atmospheres, and surfaces really focusing on ISIS and and other volatile 's at freeze out. I also design and build instruments that go to different worlds and make measurements of the atmosphere is in surfaces and things like that. And can really thanks for having me. I'm a research astrophysicists here at NAS aims, and I've been here a little bit longer than Tony. I study the universe and I also build payloads or instruments, cameras, traumas that help us understand the universe around us both near and far. So I have dabbled a little bit in some of Tony's planets as well. Very cool. Most speaking of nerdy NASA news, NASA just turned sixty. Birthday now. Should sing. Oh, there last week we had cake. I had a lunchtime meeting. Cake, won't NASA turned one in October. First, that would six years would be Tober. I nineteen fifty eight. She doesn't know what actually happened to that point because like picture the president signed thing and then NASA suddenly existed or birth certificate. Must have been built on earlier research labs that existed at the time. It was 'aeronautics was the focus of what the laboratories did. They want doing space research yet, but they were very heavily into understanding arrow dynamics, aerospace engineering, and what not to help really the fledgling airline industry and aviation industry. You know doing the things that they couldn't do helping them do the research. They couldn't do pushing the envelope, you know, you know, see what else you could do, you know, by different designs. Yeah. And that was the NAC, right? Yeah, yeah, knack. Okay. Don't call it that. No national advisory committee for 'aeronautics is preceded NASA, right? And I've been scolded for calling it Neka we are NASA sow his NA. That's right. There are three centers time, right? It was one out of Langley Virginia, east coast, these coast. Now that's Langley. What's it called now. Langley laboratory to the Langley research center, one in Ohio. Was he has, no, I always forget this one was Vincent. What was it. Louis Louis, Louis, close movies. Now, of course, the Glenn research center, I know that. Yeah, and then our favorite, very favorite. I can't remember the third. Out here in California. Oh, the aims. You might have been there. The aims. So now known as Ames research center where we are right now. Yeah. And now we have ten field centers doing all kinds of amazing work. So to learn about the last six years of innovation, go to NASA dot gov, slash sixty. Yeah. So in this episode that we're going to focus on the moon research, the lunar research that aims has worked on over those years since NASA was founded. And if you have questions, be sure to leave them in the chat, and I'll be checking for those and trying to throw some those in leader. For example, already, we have questions from Zaza lavender is asking what things will you be exploring on the moon? We're gonna come to that. That's at the heart of today's episode. So to kick things off, we're going to go to our first segment. Let's play. Let's rule that. All right. It's time for let's play. This may include game controllers, twelve sided dice or a pop Matic bubble, but basically it's all an excuse to play games and talk about science. And so today what we have is the lunar I pop quiz surprise. Quiz. Quiz and everybody watching to leave your answers in the chat, and we'll see how you fare. So I'm yes, I'm gonna ask a question and there will be onscreen needed and we'll see how you do. Okay. Question one here on March. Third nineteen. Fifty nine. The United States sent this spacecraft to the moon successfully making the first US lunar fly by. Sixty. The mariner series right. Well, Mariners. They went to Venus and they went to Mars fly by they. It's not this guy. This is another maybe a first of the first person a trail-blazing of pony express, maybe like a pioneer. And I know about the pioneers at went to the outer solar system. We went to the moon as well the fly by so. And earlier ones senior? No, the number two. Well for full credit credit, but for partial, you got pioneer. So this is pine fire four has. Very good. Right. Moving onto number two. On October twenty seventh nineteen sixty one NASA accomplished the first successful test of this rocket which shares its name with the family of rockets that would eventually take humans to the moon. Well, easier. Yeah, yeah. Well, the upper five or Sarah five us to them so it must be the Saturn series. It is young stage, Saturn one. Yeah. Very good. Very good. Saturn one. Right. Question three. Let's see what that looks like. On June second nineteen sixty six. This space craft became the first American spacecraft to soft land on the moon on the survey might answers. Serving. Surveyor what it is you're one excellent. And I have a fun fact here that Surveyor-1 transmitted more than ten thousand high quality photographs of the surface of the moon. It went in the survey or series of these Landers this is before we had digital cameras, video cameras, and film about how many photo, ten thousand ten thousand photos. A lot of film at is. Film. I never think about that film back then. All right. One more. Question number four on July. Twentieth nineteen sixty nine. This Apollo eleven astronaut became the first person to walk on the moon. The people should know that. I would be Neil Armstrong. That is Neil Armstrong xactly. Very good. So well-done beef past. Injure meatball. Nothing. So if you're just joining us, we're talking about robotic exploration of the moon today and before humans got there before Neal, there were robots. So Cassandra, I think is going to walk us through some of that history. Yes. So it all it all started with robots, actually think Tony's more of the Kimberley are experts on how to how this robotic exploration started started back in the late nineteen fifties. When. A little orbiter named Sputnik, went overhead and assured us eat to be here. Now. Point, six minutes. Around here. So. Assured in the space age and with it, the exploration of the earth from orbit, but also beyond the earth. And as part of the space race to the moon, the the effort between the United States and the Soviet Union to get to humans to the moon. I, there is a range of robotic missions that took the steps necessary to eventually bring humans to the moon and return them safely out steps. You have to leave the earth safely Ilan have to get to the moon. So you have to be able to reach the moon. And then if you want to go in orbit around the moon, you have to be able to go and get captured by the. There's a lot of different steps to when you're starting to explore. You can use these robotic, you know, messengers to work out all the kinks. Okay. Spotting started it, and then. Some of those out of the fifties into the sixties and what was nice. So first series with respect to the moon as was the ranger series. And that was Kim described really just learning how to get off the moon, get the move. And and that that was a challenging period. The first six ranger missions had failures or problems to make him not fully successful. Of the missed the moon, but. That was just, you know, the rocket fired at a slightly different time and, oh, you know, the moon and the earth are moving with respect to the sun. Yeah, we do with ranger seven launches was the first fully successful ranger mission ranger six, hit the moon intentionally, but it's camera, failed. The first two failed online others farrington work. That's the part that holds the space craft. This one was I fully successful and it did everything from teach us how to navigate to the moon, but also transmit data. So these are images of the moon as we go into crash controlled landing controlled hard landing and it's beaming live, television live from the moon. Pitches ranger SOS of really important series and it was key because without doing that, being able to the moon, you can't do the next up his gallon orbit around the known there. You've. And then if in orbit around the moon, then you can. You've shown that you can slow down your spacecraft that you've launched from the earth and its traveling really fast, and then control it to go. And then even look at the moon and take pictures, or perhaps you can look at something else. Speaking of that, I know one of your favorite images, right? Is lunar orbiter, lunar, orbiter. One spacecraft from that was we got our first image of our homeward of earth from lunar orbit, and that was from lunar orbiter one. You're seeing it right now took place in August of nineteen sixty six and. Phenomenal. I mean, it's a perspective, changing photograph because this is us looking back at home from our nearest neighbour, the moon, and you can see the, it's again, a video camera and the processed the film onboard the spacecraft and sent it back. And that's also technology that had to be developed the developed foam on the moon. Well, it's illness spacecraft from lunar, orbit, and then sending it back. So then we got these amazing pictures of of both the surface of the moon, but also looking back at the air so that when had stripy bins throughout it. Film. So they actually have the TV camera, go across in an image, take TV motion picture of the film, and that's what was being back to earth, stripe that way. But then you're telling me that this was reprocessed more recently here at Ames. Yeah, there's a group of citizen scientists who take an interest in the history of NASA and look at this beautiful picture. You're seeing right now digitally reprocessed. So that's that's same image from lunar orbiter. And you know, with today's computer techniques, looking at images, you can remove artifacts and maintain the the the the the image? Yeah. And some of our best images of the moon come from that period. I mean, you capture a lot on film really high quality. Down to the smallest scales to the dynamic range. So we orbited the moon and then. Next next, there's other stuff after get to the surface of if again, they'll to goal at this period was land on the moon humans on the moon, going back. We had a get to the moon and get to the surface and not in the way ranger, did that was a hard landing sometimes crash, but intentional. Crash in a hard landing ten land plan. So the next set of of missions. Surveyor missions really were intended to understand how to land on the moon softly and in controlled way, and they taught us not just how to land, but how where you wanna land because you don't another skill exactly. You know, we're on the moon to pinpoint and we had these images from orbit. We knew we wanted to go to this place. How do I get a spacecraft to go to that place? It's easy now GPS. Right? You pull up your map. Your phone? Yeah, exactly. Putting accordance. So there's all those techniques technologies that they had learn had to have the rockets, not only slow you into orbit now, slow you down. So you fall out of orbit and to control landing to learn about they were trying to learn about the surface. So one of the biggest questions at the time was how deep was the lunar dust. We knew there was a dust that covered the moon from generate from meteoroid packs. Churning up the surface. There was all kinds of theories about it being very, very thick and very, very porous or fluffy. Oh, deep powdered snow, if you will. And so there is a real concern that he landed something on the moon. You could sink like trying to walk in deep snow just walking very far and, and if your landing spacecraft may be the feet just go straight down and you just fall over the spacecraft and falls on his side, whatever. So sending robots the robotic before the. Humans came answered a lot of those questions, and we made us realize that, yeah, you, you can't do some Lenny end in these places of a moon, you, you can land safely. Wow. I quick question from the chat misses a fundamental moon question from Bucar. How old is the moon as old as earth. That's it's yes, yes, nice round. One significant figure. To say, yeah, yeah. I mean, the origin of the moon is something that we're still trying to our series out there on theories are only tested by observational evidence, and we don't have that time machine. You know, a Tartus to go back in time to find the birth of moon. But the leading theory is that at some point during the early parts of our solar system, Mars size object, hit the early earth and spun off what now is become our moon. That's got a lot of observational evidence that we can support it, but we weren't there to watch it happen. It is quite old. It could be then if that theory is right, it's just a little bit younger than but made largely earn large part of earth material. So in a way it is as old as and this is why reasons why you want to study them on? Because he's also tells us about our own origins exactly. Very much at a fundamental level. And you talked about that surveyor mission trying to figure out how how fluffy or not fluffy the moon is Kimberley said one of your favorite pictures is has Servier in it. Oh, yeah. Bring this one up. This is from Apollo twelve and what you're seeing is astronaut p Conrad walking up to surveyor three. They the in the background is the lunar excursion module from Apollo twelve. They pinpointed exact landing about six hundred feet of or three, and they did that deliberately for a gorse testing where he can land strategically, but now they're going up and saying Hello to. To the robot that came two years earlier and looking at the experiments that were on board and brought back from the the surveyor. But there was a surveyor that set the scale for, you know the landscape and and then we followed it with the humans. And I just think it's it's both logical and poetic. When I look at this picture because it shows that the robots help with the human exploration and also, you know, it's just beautiful one of my favorite images. So after these Apollo missions to walk on the moon, we, we wouldn't think what happened after of hollow what was opposed was the last mission and flew and one of the best and it was nineteen seventy two. And then after that nothing happened, nothing. It's the dark ages of lunar exploration, went into a dark period hill mass. It wasn't until nineteen ninety four that to United. States return twenty years. She said two years, two years after the final politician. Okay. And that was the clementine mission, which was a department of defense, the fruit spacecraft aren't good. The oranges. And it had some national so as a DOD space craft, but it had a NASA instruments on it and but it's really important mission because it tested a theory that had been outstanding are been put forward back in the late nineteen fifties by Yeary and and others that water could exist at the polls of the moon because the moon has very slight Tilton. It's access much smaller than yours. Craters at the polls, have floors are permanently shadowed. So it goes back to the question of winner. The men for it goes back for these shadows have been at the bottom of these craters for as long as the earth's been as Petit ended in its current up liquid and never seen sunlight for two billion years. And because they haven't seen sunlight and there's no atmosphere, appreciable atmosphere. They are cold minus two hundred fifty degrees below zero centigrade. I looked up, you told me that before and it's like minus four hundred Fahrenheit. I think. It's really, and it's cold enough to trap all kinds of things, including water brought my little moon monitor. Huckabee'll moon model. It's a fish toy. Very sweet. So the poll and we were talking about the poles, the north and the south, and all are are a lot of our ex earlier. Explorers had looked more around the equator. The tropics you say that was fascinating with the clementine and we learned that the polls, our special places because of the the moon, slightly tilted and the what's what's specially might watery said. Trapped in these these critters, and that was speculated back in the late nineteen fifties. So the clementine mission did an experiment to tests using radar, and they saw a result for a particular crater at the south pole called Shackleton and it. It suggested that there could be water. Ice really problem is inconclusive. Inconclusive results could have been explained by large rocks and you couldn't tell the difference between the data. So what do you do. Have to. Yeah. And then there was one other you have to go to return. You have to, like you said you learn from your previous experiments, right? I had to it so, so that was tantalizing not conclusive, but it inspired the next mission which happened for years later nineteen ninety eight. And this was a NASA led mission actually led by NASA Ames. Yeah, and it was called lunar prospector. A model we do and but be careful. It's as old as spacecraft. And so so yeah, lunar prospector did exactly like its name suggests. It prospect looked for certain compositions and really elements would did on these booms here in these long arms were instruments that measure the surface composition and one of the things it was looking for. One, the elements it was looking for was hydrogen. Now, why hydrogen? Well, there's two hydrogens and any water molecule you might to. H in each to hide. So if there is indeed water at the polls or the Mon, it might be able to see it in the form of increase in hydrogen and loan. Behold, at the polls of the moon is not increases in hydrogen and it didn't see it around their quarter, which really disa- gesture is something inherent about the qualities or conditions of the pose of the moon. That was allowing this hydrogen to accumulate way to the nineteen nineties to actually get our first glimpse of a global chemistry of moon. Yeah, it raised more questions, so Leonard prospector, all of that, but this is, can you tell us more about how what we're looking at here? This model of it, yeah, model. It's very simple. Spacecraft is about, I think we have a picture of it's about the size of a human. There it is on top of that helps put it into lunar orbit. So just the blue, the shiny blue part and the top is a space craft. Those are solar panels. The white spike is the radio antenna for beaming back information to earth and see the booms are stacked along the sides, their package for launch, and it had some three relatively simple instruments are suites of instruments that measured the magnetic fields around the moon in the composition. It was so simple, the spacecraft that you could say didn't even really have a computer a computer? No, no, it it. It didn't run software like we think run software, head processes. An electric processes were that were event driven and command -able, but otherwise, it's pretty much turn on and go and it just spun in orbit. And I think we have an animation if you wanna look at that, just spent an orbit, and there you go and just goes around and very shit way of take keeping control the space. After the spending crying you stable. These instruments didn't have a lot of pointing needs in eating appointment. The targets just went around the moon's candidate and relatively low orbit and made these measurements. And at the very end, like all things that are up, it had to come down and crashed right after about a hard landing. It was a hard landing. It was. It was gonna crash is running out of fuel, but it was directed into a place where there was this excess hydrogen and the reason they did that was they knew was hydrogen, but they didn't know the form of the hydrogen. They didn't know if it was the agent h two. It could have been the h. and OH or the h. stuck onto a mineral or just protons from the sun. The sun is constantly sending protons into the soil scientists and engineers. They wanted to get something more out of this amazing mission accolades didn't experiment. Did the controlled crash of this spacecraft into one of these crater? Yeah, the hydrangea shoemaker crater. Yeah, south pole and it had this elevated hydrogen in the idea, there was will crash the spacecraft into it, and and as it hits the dirt, it'll splash the dirt up and that will come into sunlight. Remember the dirt that where it's impacting hasn't seen lightened two billion years. So to see it lifted up into sunlight, and then they were going to observe it with the Hubble space telescope. How about the moon and the precise time? Exactly, yeah. And the it all went to plan it impacted and Hubbell saw thing. Ferment and sometimes you don't know what you're gonna say. Yeah, it's not. It's it's difficult at the time. It was very difficult to predict what they were going to see was the first time they'd ever tried something like this. So just like in the ranger series where the first few launches weren't so good. This is the first time they tried and experiment like this. And why did they think hobbled didn't see anything? What about this didn't work? Yeah. So we looked at that and we look down at that because we were planning a follow on mission to get at that question. What is the hydrogen again? Learning from what came before. And that was a mission that came later about ten years later called l. cross. And and what we did was we learned a lot about what not to do what this did. Lunar prospector came in very shallow, a grazing angle, thin orbit around the moon. And and so when it's going to reenter, it's going to come in into shell shallower angle and it's not shallow shallow, just kinda grazes skipping a rock. And and it's a small spacecraft as he saw, it's only about one hundred thirty kilograms hundred pounds. And so again, if you wanna make a splash through a bigger rock, right? The rocket better and and it was going relatively slow because it was in orbit it it's top speed was only about one point, eight kilometers per second, which is slow. It doesn't flow. He's a slow. So all those things lead to probably very small splash. So not a lot of material got up if hardly any. It didn't just have to splash splash enough of it to get into sunlight so that the Hubble space telescope could see because it can see in the dark. So that's where, again, the next NASA impact emission. The next NASA Ames mission to the moon, comes in three out of the five lunar missions manage her aims. This, this. First one, man, it aims is actually quite a leader in Linda research. I just want to mention that my questions are not looting at the moment, so I don't have any questions from the chat for you just yet, but hopefully we'll get those up and running before the end. So we can through a lot of questions. So we can put you hot. Questions. Now l. cross just mentioned is a special mission for the to view, right? Yes. Tell us how you were involves. Tony's Tony's ideas. I held it. Crazy idea. Nine told him about and she said, yeah, that's crazy enough. It could work. So what does that stand for cross? No. Lunar crater observation sensing satellite. That's part of the quiz. Not the the sport. L. crow. And this was very special unique, and it's one and. And so if you recall what I said was bigger rock mic speaker splashes, and so and it's rock this this. This is part of the bigger rock. Yeah, it takes a lot of it's very expensive to launch large things in space. So we didn't want to just launch are spent a lot of money if you will a heavy rock. So we used the x, this is the upper stage to the atlas five that launched us to the moon. That's part of the rocket there could be there anyway. It's the one that got us, you know, to leave the earth system, go to the moon, and it would have eventually fallen back to earth space junk. But we recycled space. John concern into a scientific experiment try and and. Great idea. Two hundred and forty kilogram impact spacecraft. This is twenty five hundred kilograms. Two thousand five hundred thousand pounds. Something like. Like a size of a school. Much bigger out. Apart. Yeah, yeah. Earlier smart, this is we had some smarts onboard and also came in very steep angle came in at eighty nine degrees. So skipping a rock came from earth orbit, and we actually rushed into the moon to scale. Very almost ninety degree angle. Okay. Not so therefore we don't have the grazing incidence. We're going to see your rocket hits the moon, and then this little guy and the best part we call this the shepherding spacecraft because it took this around for hundred days two months, two and a half months. Yeah, we had to do that because the upper stage of the rocket contained hydrogen oxygen, the fuel of rockets. We're trying to find hydrogen oxygen water on the moon. So we were just drying it out for two and half open. The the operators are shepherding spacecraft when they took. You know, we had this massive weight on the back, of course in space weightless, but it does affect how much propellant was when we separated. That was a really. We got rid of our lows trying to relearn the space craft is really cool. You're talking about the separation. That's one of the best parts actually too. So we had the big raw coming in steep angle with a love. Andrew came in also almost twice as fast. We had this shepherding spacecraft wasn't just a tugboat, but it had instruments on it. And that's what Kim mentioned. She was the lead for camera. Okay. Ours fixture honors cameras, three spectrometer, radio, and so smart. It was. And it actually observed the impact. I think we've video has impacts better than me doing this. Yeah, separation and you can see the the Centaurs on its way to the moon from the fact the moon got in its way and we're turning the shepherding spacecraft around and we're falling behind. And as the moon got in the way the impact happened, and we are taking data livestream back to earth and four minutes behind. So as we flew through the agenda from this impact experiment, we our selves as a spacecraft own as well. So all the time, the data is live from the moon being streamed back to earth, and we were commanding all ten instruments panning? Yeah, yeah, that moment. Oh, well, it was very four minutes of data and the fact he couldn't store in, you know, look at it later. It was all coming down in livestream and the. We're changing the exposure times of the cameras in real time during their four minute during four minutes. And this was also happening at four in the morning because you know, when you're going to do something like this, it. So we had separated from the the Centaur about an hour prior and we were taking data and as the moon was coming closer to us, the complexity of the scene was starting to have our instruments start getting a little bit overloading. So we were actually adjusting the gain exposure times of our camera in real time. Gosh, Jan four minutes, four minutes yet this, you know, that's it. One of my favorite memories from that was the the exposure. She knows what I'm talking about. Dark craters there. You can't see them, but we had some cameras. We have thermal cameras. We us. We had one that looks into the near. Infrared is just pacifism, wavelengths of that. We see and the soils in the area where we impacted on the moon are actually brighter in these infrared wavelengths. So some light scaring off a rim tops goes into the dark craters and we thought we might be able to image that with their crater with our cameras, and for the first time, getting image of the floor. And this was a risky thing we wanted. First and foremost just get good images of where we were impacting the plume and so on, but about three minutes in our. So Kim, and I decided, let's change the exposure, three minutes into formula. Seriously going to, and we've been control. We had a call in requests to command, who then had to get approval from flight. So you know there's process right. And of course we have lots of cameras. We have five. These are the near infrared cameras. One chine change and I are. We also admit infrared cameras m. I r. camera camera can cause change near. I are one exposure to three command copy m. I r. one exposure three. Now. Oh. Versus Ambi. Exactly. This goes. Finally goes on a couple of times. Finally, Kim screams November November. Mike, you know the the health. Got it. Oh, NPR one, and in the change and in time and time, and. Here that shows those images. Those are. Still the only images of the impact site that we've, we've gotten from it and they're beautiful because actually showed the crater Lee made, and you could see it and we measured it thirty meters across. And we're looking in these permanently shadowed regions, losers that don't have sunlight, and we're looking at it in the infrared because we can get the scattered light off the crater walls. But then we also able to measure the thermal signature the heat from the impact and we're crater remade. Guys are really experiment. It was a really fun project. I have a question here from the chat could setting up a telescope in dark crater on the moon, be beneficial to astronomy. Oh, absolutely. Actually having a telescope on the moon in general, would be wonderful because you don't have the atmosphere in the way, and the atmosphere prevents us from seeing a lot of what light. In fact, telescopes on the ground are really restricted to two wavelengths the visible what our eyes can see. Also the radio that can transmit through our atmosphere and having telescope anywhere on the moon would allow us to see a whole range of light. Now, if you were in the permanently shadowed part, you have to deal with technicalities of how you keep everything warm because it's also very cold. There your mom and from using a telescope to look at things in the universe. You just have to stay away from having when the moon comes into your story. When the earth comes into your field of you, it's nice, bright reflected ball because of the sunlight. Reflecting the earth's Nicosia wanna look at the sun, but you can look at the universe from there or anywhere on the moon. So I don't know if you had a question, but I wanna know what this thing is all about. It's curious getting back to l. cross which you crashed into the crater. Yeah, see what was in that debris. Okay. I know that a month after that there was a press conference. Right? And you turn up with the bucket right. Photo that under Tony with. Very well. Nonsense. What's going on there. So, yeah, we. The unfortunate thing about impact mission as it comes to an end very dramatically and and and everyone everybody wants to know what you see. What did you see? This is actually our, our second press conference, Kim, and I had to prepare for a press conference one hour after the impact. So at five AM eight AM east coast. I'm the first one. That was the first one later after working. Basically the entire team working twenty four, seven. We came to unanimous decision afford with the results which was we found water and it was not a small amount of water. It was a significant amount and I was talking with my wife actually about how to convey this because I could talk with five percent by weight or it was, you know, thirteen hundred and forty two kilograms and thirty meter. Yeah. Five percent by weight, whereas water in the Sahara desert on earth or three percent by weight. So we did sort of a relatively dry, but still has a lot of water. Wetter than the Sahara desert. Sweat, it's even comparable to earth. That's pretty crazy. Yeah. And so my wife said, well, how many buckets is that like buckets? Like? Why don't you just get a bucket and say, I got this much water on the moon guy could do that. So we got it to gallon bucket. And then that press briefing said, we've found not as small amount we've found is significant amount. Actually in the little hole, we may teeny little holy made. We had one hundred and fifty these two gallon buckets or I forget the number time. So that's the origin of the bucket and everything. It made a good point and that's actually really can't. The other thing that I like about using the bucket was l. cross was not a science mission. It did fantastic science, but it was not a science mission. It's purpose. It was actually supported funded through the human exploration office in. That's not the science mission. It's purpose to understand that hydrogen as it related to a potential resource. Could we use a hydrogen on the moon for making water for. Rocket fuel, and that's the most important one. It takes a lot of energy to lift anything out of the gravity well of earth using sources right there on the here. Bringing up is not efficient efficient. If you can make it there, you can. You're saving a ninety percent of fuel need because you spend ninety percent or so of the fuel, just to get off the earth l. crushes sampled one tiny place and head buckets of water and all those images from the pre predecessor orbiters that showed hydrogen signatures and many, many craters on both polls. There's a lot of resources there. So the anniversary of that was what was Tuesday? Yeah. Nine years ago and we're still writing papers on it, four minutes. The all could fit onto a circa two thousand nine drive and then playing room leftover salsa. Also changed the way we were looking at the moon now -pletely it. It really has changed the way it'd be. That's actually a really good point. The last thing I'll say about the the results, so they're a significant results out of Al cross that we reported at that mean was there we knew the form of the water hydrogen indeed was at least was water, and we know now is water ice. We knew there was a Nuff to be a to be potential resource institute resource utilization. And those were the two big questions. And third thing was unexpected. We saw lots of other things besides water. Yeah, it's almost like these shadow craters our garbage heaps of the system. There's a lot of treasure troves. Color heavy. Recycling, too. So as you can reuse things that are been claimed. Things were like carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide mercury. Argonne. Yes, some of these things you can use some of these things you want to avoid. Like if you mind the water for drinking better, get rid of the mercury and and so, but it's very interesting from a science standpoint, from resource and point. Yes. Interesting. But from scientific import from this says something about the origin of the water, and then therefore says something about the history of the moon and earth and all the inner planets, inner solar system planets. And so it's really wasn't amazing. Finding from cross. The moon is the laboratory and it's time sheen back to what had happened back then, what's been happening since does that Lauder, and those other speeches have been there for at least two billion years. We found the water and now we follow it out. There's another mission. So the three at a last five, what was. Warn you. I've got a bunch of awesome questions. So this question we get them all. Okay, Johnny was talking about how we found all these other things in the base of this crater one place and you. You know you, you naturally ask more questions. That's the beauty of these missions. You find a discovery, but like what did it come from? Did it come from within the moon? Did it come from things hitting the moon, bringing it like comets or asteroids. Or you know, is it from the atmosphere around the moon, you know? So that led to the next mission laddy which stands for lunar atmosphere and dust environment explorer. Quiz. Cincinnati and. Managed by spacecraft built by aims. One, the instruments I lead built here at Ames. Daughter instrument from the cross xactly to build upon our knowledge of what we've learned before. Exactly. That's key. It's really important was looking at it was looking at the the atmosphere of the moon. Okay, it's, we call it an excess fear. So next fares atmosphere who wear the molecules in that MS fear never come in contact with each other, very lonely. Around never run into thin. There's just. But it's important because as Kim Massena says something about how the surface of the moon interacts with its environment, the space environment, and there are numerous other bodies like mercury, the moons of Mars moons of Jupiter, Saturn, icy minutes that have these what are called surface Exo excess fear, boundary conditions where they are interacting with space and how they interact with micrometeorites charged particles, etc. Says a lot governs a lot of how they have evolved over time. This mission is, you know, is designed to basically sniff the atmosphere. And so it's the ex exits fear of this technical. We have an mation of how it kind of went about sniffing. Also. Now it shows it spending here and it's got panels and all side like like lunar prospector did, but it actually was had very fine pointing capabilities. It had a point. It's instruments in all different directions. Mostly my instrument. I was a real pain in the. And so one of the really interesting questions that laddy address comes from Apollo actually in survey or the Apollo astronauts thought they saw something that looked like scattered light from dust being elevated off the surface of the moon up to tens of kilometers above the surface, and there's these images from the surveyor Landers sham dust near the horizon at sunrise sunset. So there's this question is there elevated dust around the moon, it near the Terminator's where you go from light to dark laddy, had a dusty texture and flew very low just under forty kilometers above the surface at the Terminator trying to sniff out that and and other species. And one of the really important findings is it didn't see it. But loud, he didn't. Yep. And robust number wrong. I would never say that to national now. Could be dial light that they undoubtedly scattered light is questions. Where did it come from? Light from our son scattering off the dust in the plane of our own solar system. The remnants of our okay. So if his desk just wasn't from the exactly. The background light and will still be dust down low. We didn't get that low. You know, the surveyor dust could be just meters above the surface to this day though. Jack Schmitt one of the astronauts on PLO seventeen really does contend that while there was dust. It wasn't on rock. So he's really of the opinion that this elevated dust is not there. Okay. Well, so we still have more questions we need to go work, right? Because you have tantalizing evidence on evidence. Things you know. Questions. I suggest we forge ahead to our next segment, which is rapid fire questions. So let's rule the segment. All right. You asked for it. So here we go again, it's time for rapid fire questions where we cover as many from the chat as we can. So quick answers, lots of questions, cook, and then we're going to get too quick the future. After some questions, there are a number of questions about exploring caves on the moon. Are there plans to do this? People have heard about suggestions of building colonies in those caves to avoid solar radiation? Any plans to explore caves. From NASA, potentially. So. So absolutely. Very interesting places are commercial companies that are very interested in these locations as well. And NASA says, now working very closely with commercial private sector companies who are going be five lunar services to the moon and eventually. Yeah, we're gonna definitely be exploring those caves. There's a number of projects working on the technologies, methods and whatnot for exploring those case and the questioner was right about going going beneath the surface to get away from the radiation. We're protected here with our magnetosphere that protects us from space radiation that's coming mainly from the sun out in the moon. You don't have that exposure, but you can use rock or water as shield. Yeah. So, yeah, is a lovely kids have potential. Okay. Here's a cool one. What do your guests personally think is the most interesting mystery about the moon. What would you love to solve you? I, oh, yeah. Well, this NASA, this mission called grail that had had two satellites eb and flow, and they have they flow around the moon and they were to measure the one look at the interior of the moon because we were wondering why it's a little bit lopsided in terms of its surface and where it's gravity is what gave us the first map of the gravity of the moon and it still kind of a symmetric. And so I think that's one of the interesting mysteries of moon comes down to. It's origin again, we don't know how the moon form, but we can see it signatures for point six billion years later and try to work out that detective things you can work. I think the the, the, the gravity field of the moon is intriguing. Cool. For me, it's the water. We know there's water, but we don't understand why we see where we see it and why we don't see it where we think we ought to see it. Mercury also has water is polls, and it is where you expect to find it. It is and where where the model say, it has his permit shadowed craters too because it has no tilt to taxes very little and it behaves. I was like, say, market is behaving itself. The moon, it's a plant that craters plenty cold, but. Dry crater rate next to is cold and does have water. So that is an ongoing mystery right now is the history of the water on the moon. Where did it come from? And this is very relevant for utilizing it because you need to understand where it is to be able to access it at the scales. We need access it. Okay. Quick question. Can you build houses with Moon-dust think we could use that as a resource? Yes. Yeah. Yeah, they, they can censor. There's a lot of projects going on right now where they are developing the techniques to center basically heated up and form it into bricks, ceramics. Ceramics will open up a shop. We have like five minutes left, and we also wanna talk about future missions, which is one of the questions. Do we have any named missions gearing up to land on the moon? I know aims has some instruments that were building to study the moon, but, but how would you guys talk about the future? So the the the there is space directive one, which from the president and and he stabbed the space council to CNN acted. And what it does is it gives direction to NASA to reestablish a presence on the moon in a sustained way. So it's not just as our administrator says, it's not about flags and and footsteps. It's about a sustained permanent presence on the moon. So right now, NASA is building that plan to do that, and it's coming together right now and formulating right now, one of the big differences between what we're doing now and what we've done the. Pass is involvement of the private sector and commercial companies. We routinely use. Private rockets to launch her our hardware. Now we're talking about using private landed services to bring payloads to the moon for NASA. A whole new paradigm shouldn't ignore that the space between the earth and the moon is also very special because there's designs in place for the Colt, the sys- lunar highway way or assist lunar gateway battling fiving or something. But it's like a gateway that it's a place where you have to train. We were talking earlier about getting to the moon, one part of that evolution of leaving the earth and getting to the moon. But if there's ways to be efficient to refill your your modules, you know that will help the may add to the sustainability long term. Telescope there. There. And here at aims were actually do two things. We're working on two instruments. They're going forward are our prospecting instruments, their instruments that are used to look for water, Honora Rover at the scales. What I call the human scales scales, which we would utilize it once a neutron spectrometer ones near infrared spectrometer. And these are the bloodhounds that would go on a Rover and characterize area for the water form and concentrations and distributions that things you need to know to establish whether or not how you're gonna utilize it. Yeah, that's tested here in California, right? Yes. Footage of the, so we've, yeah, this is on the k. Rex Rover here at aims and on it are the two instruments that black skirt there. We called it. The skirt keeps the sunlight out. We don't like the sun because it's looking through the atmosphere. It's built for the moon. These instruments are Bill for the moon. The sun carries other signatures on. Spectrometers a granddaughter instrument from lunar prospector. And the infrared spectrometer is a granddaughter instrument from from Elko. Yeah, you keep. You keep seeing that today. We learned from being on building on the knowledge that we have passed, you know, in the Mojave desert. So that's why it's again, water concentrations. There are not too far different from what we pretty dry. Exactly. And and we're learning there in this in this that's called an analog field tests where you're trying to test something that's analogous now you do it on the moon, and there were learning how to use the data real time to make decisions about where to make additional measurements where to prospect to best characterized distribution, water prospect like like we like the gold rush. Think about how those gold the they were. They were paying, you know, trying to find it all. They don't go to another place and they try again and they go to another place, found the gold, and now we'll set up shop for the goal. It's water. Rovers are going to go first and scoop it out for us before we get there. Exactly. As you saw earlier with their survey or imagery with Apollo in the background? Yeah, the the robotic precursor called go there to survey at to understand it, and then you bring in the more valuable assets following the robotics are base. Yeah, showing what a. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So we studied this lot here at Ames. We built synthetic lunar terrains and in rock yard tests. So over the last three, four years, we've been studying this heavily along with collaborating with a lot partnering with a lot of other NASA centers, and this just shows what a prospecting Rover with look like as it drove up to a permanently shadowed crater. It'll have that light. They'll have a light. We've gotta look in there this particular designees cameras for navigation. So you need to bring light. There's other variant that could use lighter. The lasers that you wouldn't need the light and rivers are all part of this evolution of exploring new world. You start with your fly by then you have your orbiter Benue you land like the surveyors, right? And then you bring the Rover, the mobility, get mobility. Can you get to explore step by step building up? Yeah. -bility. Right. Yeah, yeah. Cool how that's just about all the time we have, sadly, but this has been awesome. Thank you for your stories and expertise futures very bright for lunar exploration. We still don't know much about the moon even though we've been studying it, and we're always surprised by what we find, and we're asking more questions than we asked before. It should be beauty of science and exploration. There's always more and and you know the the amazing thing is is if you look at what we, how we think about the moon. Now with the water cycle, we talked about a water cycle on the moon. No one ever said that. Your grandparents father's moon. You know, this is as an and I know and another ten years we're going to be looking back and going, wow, we didn't know that. Yeah, so much more trainers joining us. Both of us been great having you here. So this has been Nassan Silicon Valley, live a conversational, talk show out of NASA Ames research center with the various scientists, engineers, and researchers, and all around cool people at NASA where we talk about the nerdy NASA news. You need to know about if you like that you can find us on twitch YouTube and Facebook, and we're also on NASA TV, and if you didn't catch us live, we'll be on video on demand. After the show is over, you can also catch the audio version on podcast services. So a huge, thanks again to our guest, Tony and Kimberly. We back on October twenty. Fifth, when we talk about eight when we have NASA theme, Halloween, costume contest, and 'cause play contests. So until then we'll see you next time.
NASA In Silicon Valley
Aired 2 months ago 1:30
Nasa is working on airplane wings that fold as they fly innovation. Now a team of engineers at Nasr's. Glenn research center is investigating the feasibility of shaping portions of an airplane's wings in flight. Although folding wings are not a new idea. Existing folding wings require an actuation system that is bulky and requires multiple parts, including hydraulics and electric Motors. But this team is working on designs that use a shape memory alloy made from nickel titanium blend. The metal can be trained to return to a desired shape by applying heat much, like ice melting and rephrasing this phase transformation is reversible allowing the wing to fold and unfold existing shape memory technology, had to be modified to accurately control the metal and allow it to work in cold. Temperatures and upcoming flight test, followed by full-scale ground tests, could transform aircraft design and an interesting technology transfer this same shape memory alloy can be used as a groundbreaking method to split apart rock formations without explosives for innovation now on Jennifer pulley. Animation. Now is produced by the National Institute of aerospace through collaboration with nessa.
Aired 3 months ago 1:30
Fire Safety Sensors
What started as an interest in fire safety led inventors at Nasr's Glenn research center to develop a sensor that saves lives. This is innovation. Now bringing you stories behind the ideas that shave our future impasse or the multi parameter aerosol scattering, censor is a small optical sensor that carries a laser source similar to the technology in a CD or DVD player and array of detectors measures scattered light to determine the characteristics of particles suspended in the air. Here's Paul Greenberg one of Nasr's inventors. We've managed to make the package much smaller more durable later way lower in power consumption are technology is unique in one key area which we just patented concerns, accuracy with which we can measure these particle properties and we can do that. Much more accurately than any comparable device. The sensors can be networked together to monitor large aerosol clouds or used as a wearable monitor for minors or first responders to manage their exposure to hazardous conditions, letting everyone read a sigh of relief for innovation. Now I'm Jennifer pulley innovation now is produced by the National Institute of aerospace through collaboration with NASA.