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Third Part-Time Scientists Fan Friday!

Welcome to the third Fan Friday.

Hello and Welcome back to our third Fan Friday. You ask and we reply, while also giving away some sneak a peek at what we are doing. If you want to take a look at the previous questions go to our blog.

We got some new questions from you and selected five out of them this time with the focus on technology.


Tech "If you gonna land at the equator why don't you drive down to the pole?"

There are two main resons why you not want to drive there:

  • It's far too far. The moon has a mean radius of roughly 1737 km. That is a perimeter of ~10.914 km and that's four times the length from the equator to one of the poles. So traveling 2.728 km all the way down it will take us 2,59 years (that's 948 earth-days or 33 lunar-days) if we drive nonstop day and night assuming we make 2m/min (that's 0,12 km/h or 2,88 km/d). If we can go 30m/min (that's 1,8km/h or 43,2km/d) it will still take us 63 earth-days (that's 2,25 lunar-days). But we haven't considered yet that we can't drive in a strait line and have to slow down if there are obstacles in our way.
  • The terrain down there is not as well explored as the Apollo landing sites and it's surroundings. What we know is, that down there are much more cracks, gaps and other obstackles except for polar bears along the way.


Stats “How much is the rover?”

One R2 Prototype costs roughly €30.000 - €40.000 including all the mechanical parts, the electronics and most of the other subsystems. What is not included in the calculations are certain unbelieveably expensive parts like the solar panel antenna and man-hour.


Tech "Can Regolith go through the skin?"

Regolith is a material like sand except it also has particles as small as 1µm to 20µm. Such small particles are also found on earth, they are called Particulates or particulate matter (PM) and are produced eg. when you burn something (wood, gas, coal). Particles smaller than 10µm are classified as the thoracic fraction cause you can inhale them into your lungs, particles smaller than 1µm are classified as the respirable fraction cause they can pass through the alveoli in your lungs. So the answer is, we know that the small particles of regolith can get into your lungs but we don't know a current medical study that states regolith can pass through the skin.


Social "What do you do with the prize money?"

We have no plans what to do with the money and we haven't calculated it in our businessplan. However one part might be distributed to the members of the team. Whatever we will do after the GLXP, we will always make sure that we can enjoy such a beautiful view during business negotiations.


Tech "Were there massive setbacks in the development of the rover, or did always go to plan?"

One massive setback we had was the rover's suspension system. We modeled it with SolidWorks and did all the calculations just to discover that after the production and assembly something went wrong: the rover sagged - completely. The problem was, we calculated the springs of the suspension system for the lunar gravity which is just 1/6 of earth's gravitation and so they were absolutely too weak. We had to redesign the suspension system to accomodate for both earth's and lunar gravity this was a setback of 3 weeks.



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Image Credits:
  • Panorama with Lander: NASA
  • Astronaut with rake: NASA

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