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@polygnome covers a lot of the design motivations, I imagine they cover the big picture but an addition from my little corner of the academia: One area of concern (source: NASA provided funding, though from what I can tell NASA are worried about, and provide funding for everything), is the spray of particulate matter and dust, picked up by the jet form the ...


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Without having access to the proprietary design documents of these landers, it will be impossible to give a definite answer. However, there are a few observations and guesses we can make. First of all, the landers (its only three, the last two are the same lander in different configurations) Altair (LSAM), crewed, two stages (non re-usable), 14.5 tons ...


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The reason is mostly to isolate the habitable portion of the lander to the end that docks with the Lunar Gateway. On two-stage designs, this is just the Ascent Module. Habitable volume is heavy compared to structure and fuel tanks. Another benefit is being able to dedicate most of the bottom of the lander to fuel tanks to reduce plumbing. Ladders and ...


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Scientists routinely use the onboard transponders of deep space missions to return signals from the Deep Space Network in order to determine their distance from earth. This is briefly described in this Scientific American article. Since the furthest object ever visited by a deep space mission is Ultima Thule by the New Horizon's spacecraft, it stands to ...


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