US to develop new navigation system for moon

July 22nd, 2008 - 11:32 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 22 (Xinhua) The US space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is seeking to develop a new navigation system for use on the moon, an official said. The space agency has awarded $1.2 million to an Ohio State University research team who would develop the new system over the next three years.

The device would be a lot like the Global Positioning System (GPS) on Earth, the university announced Monday.

However, a GPS can’t be used on the moon since it doesn’t have satellites to send its signals to.

The researchers have named the new system as the Lunar Astronaut Spatial Orientation and Information System (LASOIS).

The system will rely on signals from a set of sensors, including lunar beacons, stereo cameras and orbital imaging sensors, team leader Rongxing Li, said.

Li said the images taken from the orbit would be combined with the images from the moon’s surface to create maps of lunar terrain that would allow the computers to calculate astronauts’ locations.

The signals from the lunar beacons, lunar lander and base stations would give astronauts a picture of their surroundings, similar to what drivers see when using a GPS device on Earth.

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