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NASA marks 12 projects, to explore the lunar surface ahead of 2024 moon mission

Jul 2, 2019, 2:50 pm

As per reports, NASA is getting an assist from ESA’s Heracles rover, which will scout the lunar surface for possible landing sites as it collects samples to send back to Earth on NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced its intention of sending humans back to that orbiting rock, and the mission has been dubbed Artemis.

NASA has currently chosen the 12 science and technology projects that they’re bringing to Earth’s faithful companion. All these 12 projects will help to study the moon in preparation for our return in a few years. Astrobotic has agreed to a $5.6 million NASA contract for building a lightweight autonomous rover, that will also demonstrate a long-range communication system for lunar exploration.

These ‘investigations and demonstrations’ will be transferred to the moon via NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project. Nine private companies have partnered with the US space agency to ensure that payloads that will further the development of technology and science can be quickly sent to the Moon.

All the 12 selected lunar payloads represent a cutting-edge innovations. It will take advantage of early flights through our commercial services project. Each demonstrates either a new science instrument or a technological innovation that supports scientific and human exploration objectives, and many have broader applications for Mars and beyond – Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

All 12 projects will land to the lunar surface on future flights through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services project to be completed as early as 2021. The 12 projects are as follows:

  • MoonRanger
  • Heimdall
  • Lunar Demonstration of a Reconfigurable, Radiation Tolerant Computer System
  • Regolith Adherence Characterization (RAC) Payload
  • The Lunar Magnetotelluric Sounder
  • The Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE)
  • The Lunar Environment heliospheric X-ray Imager (LEXI)
  • Next Generation Lunar Retroreflectors (NGLR)
  • The Lunar Compact InfraRed Imaging System (L-CIRiS)
  • The Lunar Instrumentation for Subsurface Thermal Exploration with Rapidity (LISTER)
  • PlanetVac
  • SAMPLR: Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering, and Probing of Lunar Regolith

The lunar exploration is planned in two phases, i.e., the first is speed – to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, and the second is to establish a sustained human presence by 2028.

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