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Autonomous Lunar Dust Observer Concept Under Development at Ball Aerospace
August 17, 2007
BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 17, 2007 – An instrument to benefit scientists in their understanding of the characteristics of lunar dust on the surface of the moon is under design by a Ball Aerospace engineer as part of a winning proposal for NASA’s Lunar Sortie Science Opportunities (LSSO) program.
A six-month proposal for the Autonomous Lunar Dust Observer (ALDO) submitted by Christian Grund was one of seven chosen from more than 70 submissions under the LSSO program. The NASA program is an effort to develop new opportunities to conduct important science investigations during the planned renewal of human exploration of the moon.
“Understanding the characteristics of lunar dust is essential to preparing for future human exploration of the moon and Mars under the Space Exploration Initiative,” said Grund, the principal investigator for the Ball Aerospace proposal. “The ALDO instrument would map the 3-D distribution of dust around lunar sortie experiment sites and record the dust environment not only on the moon, but on other airless bodies such as asteroids and other near-Earth objects.”
LSSO complements two new programs established in NASA’s science mission directorate Planetary Sciences Division: the Lunar Advanced Science and Exploration Research (LASER) program, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LOR) Participating Scientist program. LSSO’s simple, “suitcase science” packages designed to be deployed on the lunar surface by astronauts could pave the way for a wide variety of research applications regarding the moon and the lunar environment.
NASA will announce later this year which of the seven proposals will result in follow-on funding for further development.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. Over the past 50 years, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific ‘firsts’ and acts as a technology innovator for the aerospace market.
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products for beverage, food and household customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 15,500 people worldwide and reported 2006 sales of $6.6 billion.
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