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Europe Eyes Robotic Lunar Lander

Credit: Astrium

Europe’s Astrium has briefed the major results of its Lunar Lander Phase B1 study, carried out on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The study has consolidated the mission concept for automatic landing near the Moon’s south pole in 2019 as well as the provisional design of the lunar lander vehicle.

The upcoming ESA ministerial conference this November will decide how to proceed with the development of a lunar lander.

Astrium’s study details key technologies required for an automatic, soft and precise landing on the Moon of the robotic spacecraft. Soft and precise landing is precursor to significant participation in future human lunar exploration, an Astrium press release notes.

Relying exclusively on solar energy for operation on the Moon surface, the lander would place a small Moon rover and various stationary experiments on the lunar surface to conduct scientific research over a period of about six months (basic mission), with the results determined on the spot and transmitted to Earth.

These results will provide an initial understanding of the Moon’s polar region, as well as supplying basic information for future human exploration missions.

Astrium is the leading company in Europe for space technologies with 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.

For a video description of the lunar lander mission, go to:

http://www.astrium.eads.net/en/media-library/animation-lunar-lander.html

By Leonard David

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