space exploration

Space Shuttle Columbia launching

Explore – What’s the problem? There are so many things to think about when planning to explore space. Getting off the earth’s surface and out of its atmosphere poses plenty of challenges. Then what? Look around. See what’s out there. We have already determined that space is huge with the Hubble, the current space telescope, and the more powerful Webb telescope in in development. Go someplace and look at it up close. Perhaps even land and explore. The moon and Mars are relatively close by.

Some of the problems

  • bringing stuff back from space – off the surface, out of orbit
  • preventing packages from damage during delivery – in space, through atmosphere, on contact with the surface
  • communication – distance, interference, delay, synchronous, asynchronous
  • moving, control, autonomous
  • sampling, monitoring, testing
  • durability, maintenance, repair, construction
  • restrictions – energy, weight, raw materials

Examples – What can it do? * solutions

Engineering – How did they do that? How does it work?

As with any large engineering project, the work is broken down into small projects, units, systems and.or assemblies. These are broken down into smaller components that can later be fitted together. At each level, projects teams work through the Engineering Design Process, often many times as the learn from failure and add improvements as they learn by doing. with amazing results!

  • NASA’s Hard-working Mining Robot – Dubbed RASSOR, for Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot and pronounced “razor,” the autonomous machine is far from space-ready, but the earliest design has shown engineers the broad strokes of what their lunar soil excavator needs in order to operate reliably. “We were surprised at what we could do with it,” said Rachel Cox, a Kennedy Space Center engineer on the RASSOR team.
  • Working in space
  • Weight in space