Lunar ‘ExoCam’ Project Aims to Film Spacecraft Touchdowns on the Moon
The project just got NASA funding to take its testing to another level.
By Mike Wall | SPACE.com Senior Space Wrighter
October 19, 2020 | We could end up getting an amazing ground-level view of the first crewed moon landing since 1972.
(Image credit: Evan Rodaniche/Zandef Deksit Inc.)
NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has just awarded a $650,000 grant to the team behind Lunar ExoCam, an imaging system designed to eject from moon landers during descent and record video of their touchdowns from the otherworldly gray ground.
If development continues to go well, Lunar ExoCam could be ready to fly on some of the private robotic landers that are scheduled to launch toward the moon in the next few years, said the project’s principal investigator, Jason Achilles Mezilis. And he’d love to get the camera system aboard NASA’s Artemis 3 mission, which aims to land two astronauts near the lunar south pole in 2024.
Lunar ExoCam’s observations would help researchers better understand how lander engines kick up moon dirt and rock, as noted by NASA’s award announcement, which was released on Wednesday (Oct. 14). The deployment system the team is developing could also be used to get other payloads down on the lunar surface, Mezilis said. But the motivations for the project extend beyond scientific and engineering gains.