NASA’s supercomputer recreated in detail the landing of Apollo 12 on the Moon

Due to imperfect technology, it was previously difficult to conduct an accurate retrospective of historical space missions. For example, when the Apollo 12 lander successfully landed on the Moon on November 19, 1969. The events that occurred at that time were not recorded in detail, including the interaction of jet emissions from the engines of the lander with the surface of the Earth’s moon. Physical reproduction of these moments on Earth is impossible due to differences in gravity and geology, as well as the absence of an atmosphere on the Moon.

NASA scientists applied the Pleiades supercomputer to create simulations using information from past missions, in particular Apollo 12. A team of engineers and NASA experts have managed to create a program that accurately reproduces the interaction of landing jets with the lunar terrain. The Pleiades supercomputer generated terabytes of data, allowing it to predict interaction scenarios for landing astronauts and other missions.

At a conference in Denver, the team demonstrated a simulation of the Apollo 12 landing using the Gas Granular Flow Solver (GGFS) program. This program simulates the interaction of regolith particles, reproducing the formation of craters and the rise of dust clouds around the lander. 

Studying these details is very important for science, especially for future space missions, in particular the Artemis program, which provides for the return of astronauts to the Moon in 2025. SpaceX’s new Starship HLS lander, which is being constructed as part of a partnership with NASA, will be several times more powerful, so accurate modeling of physical processes during landing is a key task for engineers.

In the future, it is planned to optimize the GGFS code and integrate additional computing resources to create even more accurate simulations. This will improve landing processes for future Artemis missions and even for landings on other objects, for example, Mars.

Earlier we reported on how scientists calculated the volume of all information in the Universe.

According to NASA

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