Moon May Witness Smallest Rover, 300 College Students Working on Mission

America is the only country to send humans to the Moon. However, the US space agency NASA has not participated in the competition between different countries to send robots to the Moon. Russia landed the first robotic rover on the Moon in the 1970s. India also made such an attempt about four years ago but it did not succeed. The only rover on the Moon is China’s Yutu-2. The roughly 300-pound rover has spent the past four years on the far side of the Moon, sending back images of rocks.

Apart from this, Japan, Greece and United Arab Emirates are trying to send such a rover. Bloomberg’s one Report It has been reported that a group led by students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the US is preparing to send a rover called Iris to the Moon. It will be sent on a commercial lander. It is to be launched on 4 May. Nikolai Stefanov, a physics undergraduate student associated with the group, was initially tasked with bringing coffee to the group engaged in technical work after seeing a poster describing the project. However, three years later Stefanov has received an important responsibility. He has been made the Mission Control Director of this project and will handle the work related to it after the rover lands on the Moon.

Iris is about the size of a small box and weighs just over 4 pounds, making it the smallest and lightest rover ever sent to the Moon. It is made from carbon fiber instead of aluminum. Astrobotic Technology operating its landing has to take 14 payloads to the Moon. However, CMU has not given information about the cost of its landing. About eight lakh dollars have been spent on this entire project. This rover has a single camera on the front and back. It has the advantage of being close to the ground so that its camera will be able to take close-up images of dust on the Moon.

Part of the funding for this project has been provided by CMU. Apart from this, money has also been raised through crowdfunding. The emphasis of America’s space program is on Mars. NASA has landed five rovers on Mars. The first of these arrived in 1997. NASA plans to send its first rover to the Moon next year. This rover, called Viper, will try to find out the location and quantity of ice along with getting information about resources on the Moon.


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