Press "Enter" to skip to content

New Science Investigations of the Moon’s Dark Side by NASA

NASA has chosen three new scientific inquiry payload suites to increase understanding of Earth’s nearest neighbor. The agency continues to plan for numerous commercial delivery to the Moon’s surface per year. Two of the cargo suites will touch down on the Moon’s far side, a first for NASA. NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, effort, part of the agency’s Artemis program, will provide rides to the lunar surface for all three investigations.

The payloads are the first to be chosen from the agency’s Payloads, and Research Investigations on the Moon’s Surface (PRISM) call for ideas. The deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA Science Mission Directorate, Joel Kearns, said, “These selections add to our robust pipeline of science payloads and investigations to be delivered to the Moon through CLPS. With each new PRISM selection, we will build on our capabilities to enable bigger and better science and prove technology which will help pave the way for returning astronauts to the Moon through Artemis.”

One of the three choices, Lunar Vertex, is a combination lander and rover payload suite destined toward Reiner Gamma, one of the Moon’s most unusual and intriguing natural landforms known as a lunar swirl. Scientists aren’t sure precisely what lunar swirls are or how they arise, but they are known to be linked to anomalies in the Moon’s magnetic field. Using an onboard magnetometer, the Lunar Vertex rover will take detailed surface measurements of the Moon’s magnetic field.

The rover’s data on the lunar surface magnetic field will supplement data collected by satellites in orbit around the Moon, allowing scientists to understand better how these mysterious lunar swirls arise and change, as well as gain new insights into the Moon’s interior and core. This payload suite is led by Dr. David Blewett of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *