Astrobotic Technology Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Honeybee Robotics for payloads on Astrobotic’s moon expeditions. The MOU covers joint work to develop three payload elements for its rover and another three payload elements for the lander. The payloads include a drill with a 50cm reach, Jet Trencher, Regolith Excavator, Heat Flow Probe, Corner Cube Reflector, and Soil Samplers.
Astrobotic plans its first mission to the Moon as early as December 2013, primarily to deliver customer payloads but also to win the Google Lunar X PRIZE. In addition to an 80 kg rover, the Astrobotic spacecraft will carry up to 110 kg of payload for space agencies and researchers, potentially including the Honeybee technologies. The spacecraft will be launched on a Space X Falcon 9.
More information about payloads to the Moon at the Payloads & Services page.
Honeybee’s innovative soil sampler uses compressed gas to shoot regolith up a tube into a collection bin. One gram of gas can transport 6,000 grams (6kg) of soil.