Orion Spacecraft to Be Equipped With Mars Rover-Derived Laser for Air Monitoring

Orion spacecraft 5 photos
Photo: NASA
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Not long ago, NASA came up with a solid plan to return humans to the Moon by the end of the decade, but no sooner than 2028. Then some budget demands were approved, and they came with strings attached, forcing NASA to accelerate what is now known as the Artemis program.
The 2024 landing on the Moon is still in the cards, despite an increasing number of people and organizations saying it simply can’t be done that fast. With that in mind, and considering that even if the 2024 deadline is not met, we are definitely going up there, NASA continues to award contracts for the vehicles that will support Artemis, the Orion spacecraft.

The most recent development on this front comes in the form of LAMS. That’s short for Laser Air Monitoring System, and it’s a piece of technology that will keep tabs on the air quality inside the spacecraft once crewed missions get going.

LAMS is being developed for the Artemis III, IV, and V by an Alabama-based company called Dynetics, under a $17.8 million contract awarded at the end of May. It is a new piece of technology, says NASA, but is based on an air monitoring system sent to Mars on the Curiosity rover.

Whereas on the rover, it was supposed to monitor the atmosphere of Mars, in this application, it will have to be on a lookout for potentially dangerous changes in oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, temperature, and pressure levels inside the capsule.

NASA says it selected the Dynetics tech because it is small enough to fit inside the spaceship, and it doesn’t need a lot of power to run. The thing also doesn’t need any in-space calibration.

The Artemis program is scheduled to kick off later this year, with the launch of the uncrewed Artemis I. The hardware used for the mission comprises the Space Launch System as the carrier rocket (one core stage and two boosters) and the Orion capsule itself.

If all goes well, a dry run to the Moon and back but with no landing will take place with people on board, and only after that can we start dreaming of colonizing the Moon.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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