The recent identification of water ice in deep craters of the South Pole by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) opened up the possibility of establishing a future human colony. I am the commander of the mission, Hercules, leading the expedition to the Moon's the South Pole, a completely unexplored world.
My Moonpod crew on spacecraft Yami 3, consists of seven astronauts who are not only world experts in their respective fields but also have the ability to take a holistic view while solving complex challenges and are resilient. John is a geologist who will identify the best locations for sample collection in deep craters. Kevin, an aerospace engineer, and Jen, a systems engineer will be managing all the essential components required for running the full range of spacecraft flight systems. Electrical engineer Mike will help us in navigating through the challenges of power requirements after landing especially in the events of solar storms. Yang, a biomedical engineer will focus on real-time testing of bio-machinery by nanodevices in the areas of the south pole which are constantly shadowed and engulfed in darkness. Flight surgeon Steve will work to identify real-world challenges when future colonists will stay at the South Pole for extended periods of time. Astrobiologist Veda will focus on identifying extraterrestrial life forms (extremophiles) in and around the deep craters of the South Pole where there could be water ice and water cycle.
The most exciting part of the Hercules mission is the 785-pound Sorbiter "Pterosaur", which has integrated features of a Surveyor and a Lunar Orbiter. Pterosaur, powered by a multi-panel solar array has a robotic arm and a sampling scoop in conjunction with a complete film processing laboratory. This will enable Pterosaur to collect lunar samples and also take high-resolution images for extended periods thereby aiding future astronauts.
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