ESA will open a sealed box with monthly material for 50 years

The sample was obtained on the moon by astronaut Gene Cernan as part of the Apollo 17 mission in the Taurus-Littrow Valley. It is a 70-centimeter-long metal tube that Cernan simply drilled into the ground, and the sample was then sealed for fifty years and placed in a special chamber in a vacuum. And the reason why it was preserved like this? It is simply that they were thinking of the future at the time and that there is likely to be more advanced sample analysis technology, which they really are. Logically, however, it had to be considered that humanity would not look at the moon for a long time after the Apollo program, that is, that the sample would still have its price at this time.

This sample was obtained by the European ESA for its Apollo Next-Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) program and will not be a solid matter, but rather a capture of released gases and, as a result, the development of new containers for the collection of foreign body samples and related protocols. .

Scientists expect to extract helium, hydrogen or other lighter gases from the sample. The problem is that it is an old mailbox, for which there is documentation, but there is no one who would remember how best to open it. And in the way of opening lies the success or failure in capturing gases.

Within ANGSA, a solution called simply “Apollo can opener” was developed for 16 months. ESA will not try to unscrew the container, but will rather pierce it carefully, or this procedure will take place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where the necessary device designed for a single purpose has been prepared since November this year.

The “Apollo can opener” will be housed in a special chamber designed at Washington University in Saint Louis. It should capture all the gases in several other containers, which will then be distributed to specialized laboratories around the world.

ESA and NASA thus expect this event to benefit future missions or programs such as Artemis, PROSPECT or VIPER, which include the rover of the American NASA, which will travel to the south pole of the Moon. And, of course, it will also be Mars and the Mars Sample Return program, which has basically started by sampling the rover Perseverance. But how they can benefit them, we already have they did not know.

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Source: Svět hardware by

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