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Forget Earth - NASA plans to launch a robotic maglev on the moon in the 2030s

Forget Earth - NASA plans to launch a robotic maglev on the moon in the 2030s
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Maglev or magnetic levitation train is a train on magnetic suspension, powered and controlled by magnetic forces. Despite the fact that the technology is still underdeveloped on Earth, NASA plans to launch this miracle railway on the Moon in the next decade.

The project, more similar to a sci-fi plot, is named "Flexible Levitation on a Track" (FLOAT) and is funded for further research. According to NASA, the pace of design and development will allow launching the maglev and transporting materials on the surface of the Moon by the 2030s.

"We want to build the first lunar railway system that will provide reliable, autonomous, and efficient transportation of cargo on the Moon," wrote Ethan Schaler, project leader and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory robotics engineer, in a NASA blog. "A stable and durable robotic transportation system will be crucial for the daily operations of a permanent lunar base in the 2030s."

According to NASA's initial project, FLOAT will use "magnetic robots that will hover over a three-layer film track on the surface of the Moon" — carts will be attached to them, moving at a speed of approximately 1.61 km/h. It is planned that they will transport 100 tons of material to and from the future lunar base of the space agency daily.

NASA plans to send astronauts to the Moon as early as 2026 as part of the Artemis III mission. Meanwhile, Artemis II, previously planned for November 2024, has been rescheduled to September 2025 — a mission with a crew of 4 will repeat the path of "Orion," which flew around the Moon in 2022 unmanned. However, it recently became known that the spacecraft had issues with the heat shield during the previous flight, so another delay may be expected.

Source: livescience, NASA

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