ESA title
Play
$video.data_map.short_description.content
Science & Exploration

Landing on the Moon and returning home: Heracles

11990 views 61 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Exploration

ESA is working with the Canadian and Japanese space agencies to prepare the Heracles robotic mission to the Moon in the mid-to-late-2020s. Using the space Gateway as a halfway point, a robotic rover will scout the terrain in preparation for the future arrival of astronauts, and deliver lunar samples to Earth.

This mission offers the best and earliest chance to deliver Moon samples to Earth on NASA’s Orion spacecraft as early as its fourth or fifth mission.

Goals also include testing new hardware, demonstrating technology and gaining experience in operations while strengthening international partnerships in exploration.

A small lander with a rover inside weighing around 1800 kg in total will land and be monitored by astronauts from the Gateway. An ascent module will take off from the surface and return to the Gateway with samples taken by the rover.

Gateway, Heracles and Orion
Gateway, Heracles and Orion

Heracles will demonstrate these technologies and prove their value for humans. Later missions will include a pressurised rover driven by astronauts and an ascent module for the crew to return home.

Communications are key, with satellites providing high-speed networks to operate rovers from orbit, including feeding visuals from cameras, control signals to move the cameras, arms and wheels, and transmitting scientific data.

When the ascent module carrying the sample container arrives, the Gateway’s robotic arm will capture and berth it with the outpost’s airlock for unpacking and transfer of the container to Orion and subsequent flight to Earth with returning astronauts.

Heracles is an international programme to use the Gateway to the fullest and deliver samples to scientists on Earth using new technology that is more capable and lighter than previous missions.

European Large Logistics Lander return
European Large Logistics Lander return

Related Articles

Moon seen from Space Station
Science & Exploration

To the Moon – down south

16/07/2019 8971 views 85 likes
Read
The Moon as seen from the Space Station
Applications

ESA identifies demand for satellites around the Moon

16/07/2019 4684 views 84 likes
Read
Heracles
Science & Exploration

Developing a high-performance rocket motor for the Heracles…

16/05/2019 2478 views 39 likes
Read
ALINA on the Moon
Science & Exploration

Starting up a new cooperation for the Moon

08/05/2019 3013 views 29 likes
Read
Testing the Heracles lunar rover
Science & Exploration

Guidance and navigation systems for Heracles

18/04/2019 901 views 9 likes
Read
Moonrise
Science & Exploration

ESA and NASA to team up on lunar science

28/03/2019 8389 views 130 likes
Read
Space gateway
Science & Exploration

Gateway to the Moon

11/03/2019 15750 views 227 likes
Read
In-Situ Resource Utilisation
Science & Exploration

Astrobotic team to study delivery of lunar resources mission

26/02/2019 1142 views 11 likes
Read
The extent of Earth’s geocorona
Science & Exploration

Earth’s atmosphere stretches out to the Moon – and beyond

20/02/2019 73516 views 293 likes
Read
Moon dust on astronaut after moonwalk
Science & Exploration

Project Pextex: materials for lunar spacesuits

15/02/2019 3747 views 49 likes
Read
Multispectral view
Science & Exploration

A new camera for lunar exploration

29/01/2019 1049 views 8 likes
Read
Helga, the radiation dummy
Science & Exploration

Radiation for dummies

25/01/2019 11258 views 135 likes
Read
Science & Exploration

Preparing astronaut lunar exploration

23/01/2019 5157 views 75 likes
Read
Creativity room at EAC
Science & Exploration

Bold ideas for life off Earth

24/01/2019 1247 views 16 likes
Read
Space Station Moon
Agency

Moving on the Moon

23/01/2019 7036 views 92 likes
Read
Lunar attraction
Science & Exploration

Total lunar eclipse 2019

18/01/2019 19433 views 97 likes
Read
Station Moon transit
Science & Exploration

Moon engine now in development

08/10/2018 4942 views 68 likes
Read
1.5 tonne building block
Science & Exploration

Bricks from Moon dust

20/08/2018 17027 views 157 likes
Read
The Moon as seen from the Space Station
Science & Exploration

The toxic side of the Moon

04/07/2018 20021 views 517 likes
Read
Brick 3D printed from moondust using focused sunlight
Enabling & Support

Printing bricks from moondust using the Sun’s heat

03/05/2017 13369 views 136 likes
Read
Goonhilly antenna
Enabling & Support

Goonhilly goes deep space

22/02/2018 5557 views 97 likes
Read
Science & Exploration

First steps: returning humanity to the Moon

20/09/2017 17460 views 292 likes
Read
In-Situ Resource Utilisation
Agency

Water and oxygen made on the Moon

2515 views 18 likes
Read

Related Links