Tech developed to make lunar rover capable of operating in extreme environments

A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology showcases a prototype of a lunar rover, which will be used for moon exploration in 2020.
A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology showcases a prototype of a lunar rover, which will be used for moon exploration in 2020.

On Feb. 16, a research team led by Dr. Gang Sung-cheol at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) unveiled a prototype of a lunar rover, which is planned to be on the moon roving by 2020. What is notable is that a lunar rover has been developed with local technology.

The machine is able to carry out its mission in extreme conditions. Since it is designed to control heat easily, it can operate in a huge daily temperature range from 170 degrees below zero to 130 degrees above zero. It can perform its tasks on rough terrain as well.

The most notable characteristic of the newly-developed rover is that it is composed of two bodies. The passive double tracks of ROBHAZ, a robot designed to perform dangerous work, were used. The passive double tracks with two separate bodies connected with chains help the robot operate in a smooth manner, while maintaining its contact with the ground even in rugged terrain. The rover can move steadily up 30 degree slopes and even get over a 5-cm-tall fence. It can move up to 4 cm per second.

For full article, see Business Korea.

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Korean Government boosts its goals for space

2013_11_map_to_spaceKorea plans to launch an exploratory lunar probe aboard its own launch vehicle by June 2020 and later embark on missions to Mars and asteroids by 2040, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced yesterday.This represents a revision of the space development blueprint that moves up the time frame of the lunar landing mission and outlines a budget and other long-term space plans.

The advancement of Korea’s space program is one of President Park Geun-hye’s key pledges in line with other projects aimed at fostering the sciences and engineering fields. Initially, the development of the space launch vehicle, or rocket, was scheduled for September 2021 with a budget of 1.545 trillion won ($1.45 billion). The ministry pushed up the schedule by one year and three months, and boosted the budget to 1.957 trillion won.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.