New York, Jan 1, 2018: US government body Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and NASA have teamed up to build robotic technology that can refuel and repair friendly satellites.
“Service stations in orbit” — name given to these robotic satellites — would not only refuel satellites but also drastically improve their longevity and lifespan.
According to a report in Futurism, the robots could fix minor maintenance issues, keeping up with current orbiters as they age and sustain damage.
The agencies also hope to keep the orbit clear of debris called space pollution which is caused by broken satellites abandoned in the space.
In 2015, there were about 25,000 human-made objects larger than a human fist and roughly half a million larger than a dime orbiting Earth.
Additionally, these satellites could also face off against mechanical foes in orbit meaning it could sabotage enemy satellites in the event of war, apparently by dismantling opponents or forcing them to crash.
They could also play defence, monitoring for tampering, the report highlighted. (IANS)
Scientists are analysing the images taken under harsh light conditions by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera of the area where the Vikram moon lander is likely to have touched down on the moon and it may be a while before they can locate it, project experts told IANS.
LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Noah Petro, said on Wednesday that they were now analysing the images taken on Tuesday “and we will make a statement at some point when we can identify the lander.”
But he added, “It is important to remember that the illumination conditions right now where the lander may be are harsh.”
Therefore, it “could be difficult to identify right now (and it) may be a little longer before we have another opportunity to image the landing site next October 14” when the LRO next passes over that area of the moon.
The principal investigator for the LRO camera, Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, said that the last image of the area was acquired on Wednesday and will take time to analyse as there are “lots and lots and lots of pixels” to go through.
A NASA statement carried a note of caution saying that when the LRO flew over the Vikram landing the “local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area.”
The LROC “acquired images around the targeted landing site, but the exact location of the lander was not known so the lander may not be in the camera field of view,” NASA said.
“The LROC team will analyze these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible (it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area),” it added.