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[US] NASA JPL Proposes Robotic Maglev Train for the Moon

Posted: 14. May 2024, 21:30
by latestnews
NASA JPL Proposes Robotic Maglev Train for the Moon

NASA is going to need a way to move materials around the lunar surface, so why not FLOAT?
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Source: ... r-the-moon Accessed 2024-05-14
JPL has proposed a magnetic levitation railway that can be unfurled without destructive construction and reconfigured as needed.

The maglev railway concept is called Flexible Levitation on a Track (FLOAT). JPL says the system would be fully autonomous and capable of ferrying materials and equipment between various facilities on the Moon. The team says it could be useful for moving mission payloads from landing sites to the installations where they are needed. FLOAT could also help with in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), moving water and fuel collected on the Moon to places where astronauts can use them.

FLOAT would employ unpowered robotic sleds that hover above the flexible track with three layers. A graphite layer will enable the robots to float passively in lunar gravity using diamagnetic levitation, and a flex-circuit layer will generate electromagnetic thrust to push the robots along. An optional third layer will add thin-film solar panels that power the system when exposed to sunlight. The robotic haulers won't have any moving parts, making them less prone to wear and tear.

JPL estimates that FLOAT robots could glide along at 0.5 meters per second or faster, allowing the system to move many tons of lunar materials or payloads every day. The tracks are not permanent infrastructure and require little surface preparation. Astronauts will unroll them where needed and pick them up where they aren't. This will make it possible to expand and reconfigure the FLOAT network based on astronauts' changing needs.
moon full disk

Source: ... r-the-moon Accessed 2024-05-14