NASA simulated a tiny patch of the Moon on Earth
(ORDO NEWS) — Before heading to the Moon, the Apollo astronauts trained in various places on Earth that looked more like the lunar surface.
Such places include the volcanic regions of Iceland, Hawaii, and the southwestern United States.
To help prepare for the upcoming Artemis mission, scientists have created a “mini-moon” lunar test bed that will test “realistic” conditions on the moon, including rugged terrain and unusual sunlight.
The Lunar Lab and Regolith Test Facility at Ames Research Center in California simulate conditions on the Moon in a high-precision environment, allowing researchers to test equipment designs designed for the lunar surface.
The lab is currently being used as a test environment for the next phases of the Artemis program, to conduct research on optical sounding and drilling, and to test methods for identifying and extracting resources.
The facility was originally built in 2009 but has now been expanded and upgraded to include a lunar laboratory with multiple test beds with various models of lunar regolith.
These large internal sandboxes can be configured and tuned to simulate different regions on the Moon.
In addition, a special lighting system can recreate realistic lighting conditions on the Moon, such as the darkness of the lunar polar crater or the dazzling rays of the Sun that Apollo astronauts had to face on lunar Mars.
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