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Lunar Gateway on the Run
The purpose of this page is to get you and your students up and submitting to the Lunar Gateway Challenge in the shortest time possible.
There will always be time to slow down and let each student go over the rest of the material at their own pace using this guide.
You and your students will be ready to submit after addressing the following three questions:
The Lunar Gateway Challenge you are about to embark on is meant to highlight this exciting and historic partnership between four space agencies (NASA, CSA, ESA AND JAXA) to establish the Gateway, a space station in lunar orbit. Think of it as a new International Space Station (ISS), but instead of orbiting the Earth, it will be farther away, orbiting the Moon.
- 1.What is the Lunar Gateway?It will be a space station orbiting around the Moon.
- 2.Why is the Lunar Gateway being built?
- Conduct science experiments
- Test new technologies for space travel
- Serve as a rendezvous location for exploration of the surface of the Moon
- A stepping stone for voyages to Mars
- 3.What makes it different from the ISS?
- It is much farther away. The moon is 384,400 km away from Earth compared to 400 km to the ISS
- It is smaller, about one-sixth the size of the ISS
- It will not be continuously inhabited
- 4.What key technologies will help it succeed?
- To help the Lunar Gateway successfully stay in orbit, perform upkeep tasks to maintain its operational status and provide a safe environment for the astronauts, it will rely on the work of many people and these two human inventions:
- Robotics. A branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture and operation of robots. These robots are different machines that can assist humans and in this case the Lunar Gateway space station in a variety of ways.
- Artificial intelligence - AI. A computer program that can make advanced decisions resembling human intelligence. These two technologies will be combined in many of the systems supporting the Lunar Gateway, but one of the most exciting is Canadarm3.
The Canadarm3 will be a primarily autonomous robot permanently stationed at the Gateway, executing a wide range of tasks. It will utilize a variety of sensors to help it navigate the environment and make decisions while performing routine operations.
Now that you have foundational knowledge about the Lunar Gateway and some of the key technologies supporting it, it is time for your students to be engineers and design an AI-driven robot that will support the Lunar Gateway and the astronauts inhabiting it.
Have each student draw the robot they are thinking of and answer the following questions:
- 1.What tasks will the robot do?
- 2.What challenges/opportunities is your robot tackling?
- 3.What sensors will the robot use to help it carry on its tasks?
- 4.What decisions will the AI make to help the robot?
- 5.What actions does the robot do when it makes those decisions?
- 6.What is your AI robot's name?
Thank you for your ideas and hard work!