Based on the analysis of the scientific and engineering data requirements, MBRSC has designed a science package consisting of a set of lightweight but powerful instruments that will be onboard the Rashid rover. These instruments will enable the rover to measure a carefully selected set of environmental conditions on the lunar surface. The demanding sensitivities of the instruments combined with the necessity of optimising between the rover and science instrument requirements resulted in the establishment of an international team of researchers, under the leadership of MBRSC.
MBRSC has partnered with French space agency, CNES to provide two optical cameras (CASPEX) for the Rashid rover, which will provide high resolution images in full HD. The CASPEX camera on-top of the rover’s mast will provide panoramic visibility of the rover surroundings while the rear mounted CASPEX camera will deliver images of the lunar soil with high spatial resolution. The latter’s images of the drive tracks will be analysed to determine wheel sinkage and to investigate the detailed wheel-soil interaction. Such data will be important to design the mobility systems of future rovers.
MBRSC has partnered with the Center for Petrographic and Geochemical Research at Universite de Lorraine in Nancy (France) to work on the characterisation of the conditions at the landing sites and analysis of the data from the rover’s microscopic imager. This microscopic imager, which was conceptualised by MBRSC, will obtain the highest resolution image from the lunar surface thus far and provide an unprecedented view of the undisturbed topmost layer of the lunar regolith. It is this upper layer which will show the imprint of the formation and evolution of the lunar surface at its smallest scales.
Through a collaboration with the University of Oslo in Norway, the team is developing the Langmuir probes that will study the plasma around the Moon. The data will help the scientific community to understand how charged particles interact with the lunar surface. It is thought that this interaction can lift dust particles and carry them for certain distances.
From the UAE, a team at New York University Abu Dhabi will work on the microscopic camera calibration, as well as on investigating the interaction of the rover’s surface materials with the solar radiation. The latter is of great importance to interpret the measurements of the plasma sheath.