A Revolutionary Backpack For NASA Astronauts To Go To The Moon – Here’s What It Can Do

NASA is designing a futuristic backpack called “KnaCK” for astronauts who will return to the moon thanks to the Artemis program. Here’s what she can do.

Credit: NASA/Michael Zanetti

The astronauts that will return to moon You will be able to rely on much more advanced technologies than those of the pioneers Apollo missionsIt started more than half a century ago. between a tool There will also be a futuristic future available back bag call talent, short for Kinematic Navigation and Charograph Knapsack, or Kinematic Navigation and Charting Bag. In simple terms, it is a tool capable of generating highly detailed details 3D Maps subordinate Moon soil at At present, which also allows astronauts to memorize the locations of points of interest (such as a particular rock may be). In addition to the layout of the surface, the backpack can also be used as a Navigation device; Thanks to him, astronauts can understand how much distance they have traveled and how much is lost to get to a certain place.

But how exactly does KnaCK work? NASA Backpack Relies on Technology lidaran acronym for Laser Imaging Detection and Range, a system Remote Sensing who exploits laser pulses To map the surrounding environment. The compact LIDAR is a new type called continuous frequency modulated lidar wave (FMCW), which is capable of generating million points measurements per second, creating a highly accurate 3D reconstruction of what orbits the astronaut en route. When the laser light from the backpack is reflected off the surface of the moon, it changes in frequency, which is data collected by the LIDAR detector and translated into topographic maps with a resolution of centimeters, capable of providing the exact distance to objects and surfaces. It also works perfectly in darkwhich makes them especially valuable in hostile worlds that lack the normal reference points we have on Earth.

Backpack's LIDAR technology.  credit: NASA

Backpack’s LIDAR technology. credit: NASA

The KnaCK backpack, designed by a research team coordinated by scientists from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, has already been successfully tested on our planet. At the end of last year, the project’s principal investigator, planetary scientist Michael Zanetti, successfully mapped volcanic soils in Potrillo, New Mexico, confirming the quality of this technology. “Essentially a sensor tool for both navigation and scientific mapping, the sensor is capable of creating ultra-high-resolution 3D maps with centimeter resolution and provides a rich scientific context,” Zanetti said in a press release. “It will also help ensure the safety of astronauts and roving vehicles in an environment without GPS coverage such as the Moon, by determining the actual distances to distant landmarks and showing the explorers in real time where they have arrived and how much is left to reach their destination.”, the expert added.

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The backpack, currently developed in collaboration with Torch Technologies Inc. and Aeva Inc. A prototype and needs a lot of work to be completed, but it may be ready for the first missions of the Artemis program, which aims to return man to the moon (particularly the first woman and first black person) in 2025. These days, important tests are underway on the launch rocket the huge SLS which will play a fundamental role in the (re)conquest of the Earth satellite, as well as, in the future, Mars. NASA’s goal is to make the LIDAR instrument as small as possible, and to integrate it into a standard astronaut’s backpack.

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