NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 14 December 2022: Rover repaired by 'TAPE' on the Moon | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 14 December 2022: Rover repaired by 'TAPE' on the Moon

NASA has shared a glimpse into the Apollo 17 mission with an image of a lunar rover. Check out the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day.

| Updated on: Dec 14 2022, 13:47 IST
Top NASA tech that solved Mars myths and mysteries like never before
NASA Apollo 17
1/10 Humans have been studying Mars for hundred of years. In 1609, Galileo was the first person to peer through a telescope and get a more intimate image of what many could only have dreamed of. (Pixabay)
NASA Apollo 17
2/10 An up close and personal view of the red planet emerged as time progressed and so did the capabilities of telescopes. In fact, from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, many astronomers believed that Mars was home to majestic seas and lush areas of vegetation. The Dark markings on Mars surface were once believed to be caused by vegetation growing and dying. (Pixabay)
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3/10 Some even believed that intelligent life existed on Mars just because of what they saw through their simple telescopes. But that is exactly was science is about-you make educated guesses based on what you know, then change your ideas based on what you learn. (NASA)
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4/10 Now, thanks to new sophisticated equipment and robotic visits to Mars, it turns out they were caused by Martian wind. It was not until the 1960s, when NASA's Mariner missions flew by and snapped pictures of Mars that many of the myths about the red planet were dispelled. (NASA)
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5/10 That does not make Mars any less interesting. The possibility that life actually existed once on Mars is still a distinct possibility. Or it may even be existing on Mars today! No, not in the form of little green men, but on a microbial level. (NASA)
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6/10 Now, taking pictures is great and all. But nothing is better than getting to know the real thing. So, to get a better feel of Mars, Scientists and engineers built some nifty technologies, from spacecrafts to reach Mars and rovers (vehicles) to actually trundle and explore the planet. (NASA/JPL)
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7/10 Among the earliest tech deployed for Mars was Phoenix. It was launched on August 4, 2007 and so began its 9-month long, 681 Million km journey to the legendary red planet. Now, landing on a planet is not as easy as simply dropping a spacecraft onto it. There is actually a lot of steps to the process. (NASA)
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8/10 On May 25, 2008, Phoenix entered Mars atmosphere. It used its heat shield to slow down the high speed entry of 5600 meters per second or around 12500 miles per hour. It released a supersonic PARACHUTE, then detached from its parachute and used its rocket engines to land safely on the planet's surface. Phoenix' landing spot was further north and closer to the ice covered poles than any spacecraft has ever been before. (NASA)
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9/10 Phoenix had two primary goals: One was to study the history of water in the Martian arctic and the other was to search for evidence of a habitual zone and assess the biological potential of the ice soil boundary. And to do that the spacecraft was packed full of gizmos and gadgets to perform all sets of experiments and tests. One of these gizmos was a robotic arm with a shovel attached. It was used to dig up samples of the martian soil for experiments! (NASA)
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10/10 Another top tech on the Mars surface was the Surface Stereo Imager, which is really just a fancy name for the camera. Three surface stereo imagers were Phoenix' eye. Engineers built the device with two optical lenses that would allow for a three dimensional view, just like our eyes. And the SSI sent back some amazing images of the martian landscape. (Source: NASA/Justin Tully) (NASA)
NASA Apollo 17
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Apollo 17’s lunar rover repaired by astronauts using duct tape. (NASA)

The Moon has fascinated scientists, astronomers as well as science fiction authors and readers for decades due to its mysterious craters, lowlands and an iron-rich core. Authors have even written books such as From the Earth to the Moon fantasizing about life on the Moon. Movies like Apollo 13, Ad Astra and Moon have documented man's attempts to go to the Moon and even establish a lunar base. However, not all is fiction. In fact, there have been countless missions to the Moon, with 6 missions landing man on the Moon by NASA alone. The last time man took a trip to Earth's natural satellite was with the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and now NASA has shared a glimpse of that trip.

On a daily basis, NASA shares an Astronomy Picture of the Day which gives us an amazing insight about the various mysteries of the Universe. Today's image is a snapshot of the lunar dust and a lunar rover repaired with duct tape during NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972. NASA astronauts repaired one of the fenders of the lunar rover to keep lunar dust at bay with the help of duct tape.

NASA explained, "On Earth, rocks are weathered by wind and water, creating soil and sand. On the Moon, the history of constant micrometeorite bombardment has blasted away at the rocky surface creating a layer of powdery lunar soil or regolith. For the Apollo astronauts and their equipment, the pervasive, fine, gritty dust was definitely a problem. Fifty years ago, on the lunar surface in December 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan needed to repair one of their rover's fenders in an effort to keep the rooster tails of dust away from themselves and their gear. This picture reveals the wheel and fender of their dust covered rover along with the ingenious application of spare maps, clamps, and a grey strip of "duct tape".

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The Moon has vast craters on its surface from asteroid impacts over billions of years. These craters, combined with low gravity make traversal difficult. Therefore, astronauts use rovers to travel from one site to another.

How did the Moon form?

The Moon has long been one of the central pieces of the studies related to Earth. Its presence influences various phenomena on the planet, such as tides. But what caused the formation of this giant celestial object? According to NASA, a huge Mars-sized celestial object called Theia collided with Earth around 4.5 billion years ago and the Moon was formed in the aftermath of the collision. It was rumoured that the formation of Earth's natural satellite occurred over a period of months or even years but this recent research has changed the narrative.

Going back to the Moon

NASA is gearing up to send man to the Moon again with its Artemis programme for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972. According to NASA, Artemis I, which launched last month, is the first uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. NASA's Artemis missions will provide a way for the space agency to prepare astronauts for future Mars missions.

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First Published Date: 14 Dec, 13:46 IST