For the first time, NASA released a laser beam from an area of ​​the Moon, what is the explanation for this? – teach me about science

Source: Pixabay

space exploration has always been Bewitched, and the Moon has been the subject of ongoing study. Recently NASA launched a campaign technical achievement Marking a milestone in research mole:For the first time, he was shot laser rays From lunar orbit to a lander on the lunar surface.

Let’s imagine for a moment being on the moon, getting lost among it Ravine And unknown terrain. This is where its use is important laser rays, NASA used an instrument aboard its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) to send one laser beam Towards India’s Vikram Lander, a dome-shaped aluminum device specifically shaped like a billiard ball!

it laser beamLike a spatial “ping”, allowing scientists to determine the location accurate Of lunar lander.

Why is this technology so important?

The technique of sending a laser pulse toward an object and measuring the time it takes for the light to return has been used to track satellites in Earth orbit, but it is done in a different way, from a moving spacecraft. Until a stationary spacecraft on the Moon, there is a innovation Which could be important for future human missions, as astronauts will have pinpoint accuracy of their location in space exploration.

12 December 2023, it was 3 pm lro pointed towards him lola laser altimeter Which points to a small retroreflector in Vikram, part of a collaboration between pot And this Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), The two spacecraft were 62 miles (100 kilometers) apart when the light bounced off the spacecraft’s retroreflector was recorded. pot near Vikram,

With this laser beam technology, astronauts will be able to get accurate guidance. Source: Getty Images

This conversation marked a historic achievement: for the first time laser beam was transmitted and reflected between a moving spacecraft and a spacecraft standing on the surface of the Moon. Now, the importance is not only in knowing the location but also in the ability to detect objects on the Moon from orbit and this is an important step for future manned missions.

How is this retroreflector?

On the other hand, in laser retroreflectors Vikram, only 5 centimeters (2 inches) wide, is a technological marvel. Made of eight quartz corner cube prisms housed within a dome-shaped aluminum frame, this tiny device requires no power or maintenance. Its unique design allows incoming light to be reflected from any direction toward its source, facilitating detection from lunar orbit.

Small, round, golden device with eight large circles
Retroreflective laser. Source: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

lolaAltimeter on board lro of pot, commonly used to map lunar topography in preparation for future missions. However, its use in this specific mission involved sending five laser rays Go to the moon and measure the time it takes each to return. However the altimeter required eight attempts to contact the retroreflector. Vikram Due to the large gap between laser beams, the device’s persistence proved successful.

This technological advancement is exciting. The use of technology in the aspect of crew safety in space missions is exciting. laser rays In space exploration and determining the location of objects in extraterrestrial environments.

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