Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Video: Lunar Bull Dozing

SpaceToys.com Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
If landing on the Moon is "easy," then living upon it may be "slightly difficult"--especially if one has to find ways of creating a viable transportation system, which could involve lunar railroads and subways.

But before we begin dreaming up future metropolis connecting to each other across the moonscape, we may have to find ways of digging through lunar soil first.

(New Scientist Space) Chariot, a two-tonne "truck" with a top speed of 20 kilometres per hour, has been tearing up the Lunar Yard, a test bed at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, since engineers there completed construction of the vehicle in September of 2007. [...]

Independent steering on each of its six pairs of wheels allows the vehicle to spin on the spot, zigzag up steep crater walls, and manoeuvre into tight spaces with ease.

The Chariot – so named because the current model has no seats, windows, or doors, and can be driven from the rear – can also lower its chassis to the ground making it easier for astronauts in bulky spacesuits to climb aboard.

Hopefully this new design (coupled with a plow) will enable colonists to clear out land in order to tame the Moon's rugged surface. While more testing has to be done in order to make the robotic vehicles robust enough, future prototypes like these may enable us to actually build homes on lunar side, instead of dreaming about it from hundreds of thousands of kilometers away.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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