Have you ever wondered how Nasa's robotic lunar lander works? Well, you're about to find out regardless, and it's fascinating.
Think about this, right; the Moon has a different gravity from Earth. No big deal, or is it? Well, when it comes to landing a vehicle on the surface of the Moon, or any other space object, this is a big deal.
The big question is, how do you test landing on the Moon when the Earth's gravity is stronger? The answer is more simple than you think. All you need is a thruster in the middle of your craft that pushes out gas at a constant pressure. In this case, to simulate 1/6th of Earth's gravity. Easy!
Now, let's focus on the actual lunar lander. To get it to stabilise and be able to move accurately, you need thrusters. In this case, there are three "decender" thrusters, which move the lander up and down. Then, there are four, two on each side, that rotate the lander horizontally. Finally, there are four more that rotate it on the verticle, called the pitch and yaw.
All of these thrusters are powered by 90% hydrogen peroxide. The outputs are controlled by software that uses the crafts "inner ear". This is the device that measures the lander's movement on all three axes.
Ultimately, it's a feat of engineering that is more difficult to create than we might think. We join Dustin from Smarter Every Day on YouTube as he runs us through the requirements with his friend, Logan, a NASA Engineer.
To infinity, and beyond!