Mexico eagerly prepares for historic first Latin American lunar mission: ‘Elevates the name of our country’

Mexico will launch its first lunar mission next month, a historic step for the country and Latin America as a whole, according to officials. 

“This project will make history and is the first of its kind in Latin America, which elevates the name of our country, confirming once again that Mexican engineering is at the level of the best in the world,” Salvador Landeros, director of the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), said in a press release. 

A team of scientists and nearly 250 university students developed five microrobots that the AEM will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, between Jan. 8 and Jan. 11 as part of project Colmena.

Each robot weighs 60 grams — a little over one-tenth of a pound — and measures just under 5 inches in diameter. 

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Mexico Colmena Moon

Gustavo Medina Tanco, lead scientist of the Colmena project, supports the push for Mexico’s space race legislation in the Senate in Mexico City, Mexico. (Luis Barron/Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The robots will communicate with each other on the moon and work together to assemble a panel to generate energy, according to Mexico News Daily. Once set up, the robots will also take measurements of lunar plasma temperature and surface particle sizes, all previously unrecorded data.

Project Colmena is part of a broader NASA program, Artemis, which also includes emerging space programs in Brazil, South Korea and Mexico. 

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Microbot moon project

This project will send to the moon five microrobots developed with Mexican technology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. (Mexican Space Agency)

“In today’s world, developing our own technology is a necessity for Mexico,” Medina Tanco, the current head of the Space Instrumentation Laboratory of the Institute of Nuclear Sciences, said.

“If we want social well-being, if we want a more productive and better future, we need to be no longer just consumers and transform this country into an actor with technological sovereignty.” 

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Cape Canaveral NASA

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the third pair of satellites for Luxembourg-based company SES from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral.  (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

NASA will provide more than the launch pad. NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program has produced a spacecraft called Peregrine that will deliver the microrobots to the moon. 

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The early January launch will lead to a late February arrival. The Mexican team had hoped to send the robots to space in 2022 but delayed the project and scrapped a launch after a “wet dress rehearsal” interruption due to a connection timeout error. 

The launch has generated significant national excitement.

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1: https://www.foxnews.com/world/mexico-eagerly-prepares-historic-first-latin-american-lunar-mission-elevates-name-country

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