A dentist in space

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 12:00am


A tool designed by a Hong Kong dentist will travel to the deep, dark craters of the moon to search for water.

The device was designed by Dr Ng Tze-chuen for taking planetary samples. Ng's sampling tools will be attached to a rover of the European Space Agency that will explore the moon's surface. They will scoop up soil samples to see if there is enough water on the moon to make it viable for a human base there.

The 59-year-old Hong Kong designer says he has spent three decades making tools for space exploration. He designed a drill and corer for the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars a decade ago. His tools were never used because operators lost contact with the Mars lander. Yet they were later put to good use in other explorations during the Russian, European and Chinese space programmes.

The dentist does not ask for payment for his designs and funds his own research. His new design's prototype will be produced at the end of this year.