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SpaceVidcast Daily 15.10.09

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Unlike here on Earth, the top soil on the Moon has not been worn down by millions of years of ocean wear. Believe it or not our sand is actually quite polished when compared to the stuff on the Moon. The jagged edges of what's commonly referred to as regolith, can create some serious issues when it comes to critical things for living on the moon, like keeping airlock seals tight and not ripping apart the lungs of astronauts. This stuff's not all bad. If we can find a way to mine and collect the regolith we can utilize it to help build our future lunar colonies. We are hoping use the regolith as building material. We can possibly use it to provide shielding from meteorites, thermal extremes, radiation, both natural and man-made, and the blast effects of rockets landing and taking off. Oh, and the material contains He-3 which could, you know, solve the world's energy crisis. But if the regolith can tear space suits or get into airlocks and wreak havok, how will we be able to mine it safely? NASA has been pondering that very issue. To help with the answer the NASA Centennial Challenges Program has come up with the Regolith Excavation Challenge, a contest worth $750 Thousand Dollars. This year there are a record number of competing teams with 23 currently registered. The challenge requires the teams to build a robot that can navigate, excavate, and transfer 150 kg of simulated lunar regolith into a collection bin within 30 minutes. The rovers must carry their own power source and are required to be remote controlled in such a way that mimics lunar surface communications. To make things harder, each team only has one chance to claim the prize. The contest is to be held October 17th and 18th at the NASA Ames Research Park in Mountain View, California. It should be interesting to see what happens. Lunar regolith is not easy to work with, but it is sure fun to watch others try! For more information and to continue the conversation join us live for our weekly show every Friday morning at 2 am Coordinated Universal Time. Remember to convert to your local time zone or check the Spacvidcast website for details.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 16 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Benjamin Higginbotham
Views: 100
Posted by: spacevidcaster on Oct 15, 2009

The jagged edges of what’s commonly referred to as lunar regolith, can create some serious issues when it comes to critical things for living on the moon, like keeping airlock seals tight or not ripping apart the lungs of astronauts. This stuff’s not all bad. If we can find a way to mine and collect the regolith we can utilize it to help build our future lunar colonies. We can possibly use it to provide shielding from meteorites, thermal extremes, radiation, both natural and man-made, and the blast effects of rockets landing and taking off. Oh, and the material contains He-3 which could, you know, solve the world’s energy crisis.

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