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MIT Media Lab Wireless Sensor Node Team

Published onFeb 17, 2021
MIT Media Lab Wireless Sensor Node Team

The LunarWSN is a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) that is composed of multiple miniaturized (5cmx5cmx5cm), modularization designed sensor nodes that can be ballistically deployed on the Lunar surface from a rover, lander by a projectile launcher (such as the cold gas propelled projectile launcher of the NASA PHALANX) or even be dropped by a spacecraft flyby. The host central station on the rover or lander serves as the data collection station and position references. After being deployed on the Lunar surface, the sensor nodes can automatically set-up a localization and communication network and start the sensing mission.

Current Status: Currently, the node is used for water detection. The node is in small size, which is 5cm x 5cm x 5cm.There is a UWB antenna (for wireless ranging), a 2.4GHz Antenna (for wireless communication), 3 Solar panels, and a pair of probes on each side of the node. There is a DDS in the node that connects with the probes, and the DDS can feed sweeping frequency signal to the lunar soil, and the impendence can be measured under different frequencies. The results can be used for water content detection.

Hardware is mostly complete – the next phase of development will focus on developing the monitoring and control software.

Opportunities for Engagement with the Project:

New team members will work with the project lead to undergo testing, including:

  • Wireless communication (protocol and distance)

  • Localization (accuracy and distance)

  • Sensing capability (water detection)

  • Power harvesting

New team members can also be involved in developing new applications for the platform for other sensing missions beyond water detection.

Project Lead: Fangzheng Liu (MIT Media Lab, Responsive Environments)

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