Europe tests ‘BB-8’ probe to explore lunar caves

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The European Space Agency (ESA) is testing a robot that was built for the purpose of exploring lunar caves. Similar to the Star Wars BB-8, the machine is part of a major scientific project and, for now, there is no prediction of when it will be taken to the Moon.

Named DAEDALUS, the sphere-shaped probe was designed by the team of German scientist Julius-Maximilians, from the University of W├╝rzburg, and is being evaluated by the Concurrent Design Facility, an ESA technical center.

According to the agency, orbiterships have already mapped several lunar wells that are interesting for the scientific community. The sites have not been explored yet and it is hypothesized that they even have frozen water deposits.

In addition, the organization points out that the caves can serve to house lunar colonies. They offer protection against radiation, micrometeorites and extreme temperatures on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite. The idea is that the equipment can make all these discoveries.

Mission to the Moon

The robotic sphere is 46 cm and carries some equipment: immersive stereoscopic camera, laser radar handle sensor for 3D mapping of cave interiors, temperature sensors and a radiation dosimeter. DAEDALUS also has extendable arms to eliminate obstacles and test the properties of the rocks.

The real-life BB-8 is being tested to descend into a cave by means of a rope. Soon after, he will be disconnected to “roll” autonomously, but would continue to be accompanied by the rope, which has a Wi-Fi receiver. Images of the lunar environment will be captured at 306 degrees and transmitted out of the pit.

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