Shoebox-Sized 'Lunar IceCube' Spacecraft Could Help Us Colonize the Moon

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 - 3:43PM
Space
Astronomy
Tuesday, 04 August 2015 - 3:43PM
Shoebox-Sized 'Lunar IceCube' Spacecraft Could Help Us Colonize the Moon
The human race might be on our way to finding water on the Moon, as NASA has just selected a shoebox-sized spacecraft called Lunar IceCube to search for water and other resources on the surface of our satellite. NASA calls this decision "a paradigm shift in interplanetary science," and claims that the IceCube will change space exploration as we know it.

The IceCube is a tiny satellite that will be among the first to explore deep space. If all goes according to plan, then it will provide invaluable scientific data, and will lay the foundation for manned deep space missions. According to NASA, the spacecraft's ability to search for resources on other planets could allow astronauts to manufacture fuel and other necessary provisions to a mission to Mars, and could also allow humans to set up a permanent station on the Moon.

And that's just the beginning, as this cutting-edge technology could allow for many tiny satellites in space, all working to assist humankind in our ambitions to reach other planets:

Opening quote
"I'm betting that we already have about 100 deep-space CubeSat concepts floating around," Pam Clark, the mission's science principal investigator at Goddard, said in a NASA statement. "This is where things are headed."
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There's no set date for the Lunar IceCube to set off into space, but it's set to launch on the SLS, the most powerful rocket launch system NASA has ever attempted. As a result, we won't be seeing this tiny spacecraft take off for at least a few years, as the SLS has an estimated launch date of November 2018.
Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy

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