Space technology projects

Below we introduce some of the significant projects in space technology.

All Tartu Observatory projects

Space technology page

The Smart Forest Robot

Applied research for reducing required human intervention in robotic forest regeneration operations.

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Theia - the Earth Observation Camera

Theia is a small Earth observation camera for nanosatellites capable of making radiometrically accurate scientific measurements.

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Comet Interceptor

Comet Interceptor is Estonia's first deep space mission, which will launch in 2029. One of the main instruments is being developed at the Tartu Observatory: the Optical Periscope Imager for Comets (OPIC). The purpose of the mission is to visit a celestial body from the Solar System's outskirts or another planetary system for the first time in history, and collect as much data as possible simultaneously with several independent probes during a quick flyby. This could become the first opportunity to study an object from another planetary system.

Mission homepage

Asteroid research

We know millions of asteroids, but only a few have been studied in detail. Multi-Asteroid Touring is a preliminary study that proposes the idea of a small fleet of spacecraft that can gather more data about passing asteroids from a closer distance compared to what has been possible so far through close contact.

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Venus Life Finder mission

Tartu Observatory and other scientific institutions and companies are preparing three space missions to Venus to search for signs of life in the atmosphere. Hopefully, the missions will manage to deliver the samples collected from Venus to Earth. One of the probe's most important sensors was invented in Tartu: the prototype for the unique acidity-tasting "tongue" was made in Tõravere.

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Building a lunar camera

In cooperation with the Crystalspace company, Tartu Observatory developed cameras flying to the Moon with a NASA mission in 2023. The cameras will control the robotic arm of a rover. This will be the first instrument made by Estonians on the surface of the Moon.

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Development of lunar rover control software

In cooperation with Milrem Robotics, a preliminary research project for constructing a lunar rover is underway. Within this framework, we are investigating the possibilities of building an analogous environment of the Moon to Earth or finding it from nature.

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