While you might take a water bottle and a few granola bars on your next hiking trip, astronauts walking on the moon need to be a bit more prepared. That’s why NASA has developed a new high-tech backpack for future lunar explorers.
The Kinematic Navigation and Cartography Knapsack (KNaCK) is armed with a mobile scanner that can create a 3D map of the terrain around the wearer. Utilizing the same technology that helps smart cars avoid crashing, the backpack will give astronauts a high-resolution map of the surrounding area and be able to provide them with a real-time navigation system—something that will come in handy in a truly alien world.
“Basically, the sensor is a surveying tool for both navigation and science mapping, able to create ultra-high-resolution 3D maps at centimeter-level precision and give them a rich scientific context,” Michale Zanetti, a planetary scientist who leads the KNaCK project at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said in an agency press release.
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