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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

NASA challenges public to devise novel ways to unload lunar supplies

• by David Szondy

A frustrating truism is that the most advanced, ambitious endeavors will often find that the worst bottleneck is seemingly the most trivial – how to get the stuff out of the vehicle when you get to your destination, for example. Anyone who has had to unload an aircraft, yacht, car, or van can appreciate that it can be much more arduous than traveling from Point A to Point B. Even for the historic Apollo lunar landings of half a century ago, NASA at one time expected the astronauts to descend to the Moon's surface hand over hand on a rope – and on the day still had them hauling equipment manually down a rickety ladder.

With the Artemis program committed to landing the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024 as the first step in establishing a permanent American human presence there, the problem of routinely unloading payloads from landers and other spacecraft in a vacuum under one-sixth Earth gravity is unlikely to make do with a clothesline and a couple of pulleys.