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NASA plans to build first railway station system on moon

The space agency proposed the details of its project named - Flexible Levitation on a Track (FLOAT) - which would provide reliable, autonomous and efficient transportation on the moon
Last Updated : 14 May 2024, 08:30 IST
Last Updated : 14 May 2024, 08:30 IST

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The American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that it plans to build a robot train on the moon, for which it will be sending its astronauts to the Earth's only natural satellite.

The space agency proposed the details of its project named - Flexible Levitation on a Track (FLOAT) - which would provide reliable, autonomous and efficient transportation on the moon, in its blog.

NASA said that the transportation would be critical to the daily operations of a sustainable lunar base in the 2030s, like the Robotic Lunar Surface Operations 2 (RLSO2),

NASA said, "We want to build the first lunar railway system, which will provide reliable, autonomous, and efficient payload transport on the Moon."

"A durable, long-life robotic transport system will be critical to the daily operations of a sustainable lunar base in the 2030’s, as envisioned in NASA’s Moon to Mars plan and mission concepts like the Robotic Lunar Surface Operations 2 (RLSO2)."

Explaining the system of its FLOAT project, NASA said that it would use unpowered magnetic robots which would levitate a three-layer flexible film track to prevent abrasion from lunar surface's dust.

NASA described the uses of these three layers - a graphite layer enables robots to passively float over tracks using diamagnetic levitation, a flex-circuit layer generates electromagnetic thrust to controllably propel robots along tracks, and an optional thin-film solar panel layer generates power for the base when in sunlight.

NASA also told that these robots would carry carts to transport about 100 tons of building material, to and from the NASA's lunar base.

NASA said, "FLOAT will operate autonomously in the dusty, inhospitable lunar environment with minimal site preparation, and its network of tracks can be rolled-up / reconfigured over time to match evolving lunar base mission requirements."

According to a report by NDTV, engineers of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in California are developing the FLOAT system and will be testing its different parts later.

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Published 14 May 2024, 08:30 IST

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