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NASA tests moon exploration techniques in Hawaii

    In 2008, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and NASA used the slopes of Mauna Kea as a stand-in for the moon to test a robot designed for lunar prospecting.

HILO >> NASA is conducting a nine-day field study in Hawaii to evaluate new techniques for exploring the moon. 

The research is being done at a site near Hilo with lava-covered mountain soil similar to the volcanic plains on the moon. 

The project will test a device designed to map the distribution of water ice on the moon and drill into the lunar surface. 

NASA said Tuesday the lessons it learns will become increasingly important as it embarks on deep-space missions. 

The agency says a human crew won’t have to launch into space with all the supplies it needs but could instead go knowing natural resources are waiting for them.

NASA is working with the Canadian Space Agency on the project. Hawaii’s Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems is assisting.  

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