Agency announced (Opens in a new tab) Thursday (July 21) will task a team led by Draper to transport a batch of science and technology payloads to the Schrödinger Crater (Opens in a new tab), Basin impact on the far side of the moon. The Draper SERIES-2 lander is scheduled to land in 2025.
If the $73 million Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract is successfully executed, it would mark the first time a NASA flag has landed on the far side of the Moon. (This is the eighth CLPS contract announced so far and also, the first CLPS mission aimed at the far side.)
Related: Every mission to the moon
Only one country has successfully completed a mission on the far side of the moon, and relatively recently: China’s Chang’e 4 lander carrying Yutu 2 arrived at Von Kármán crater on January 2, 2019. Complications for landing on the far side of the moon The moon arises because this The side is out of direct radio communication with the Earth, which means that all information must be sent to our planet through a satellite relay.
NASA said the remote, unmanned mission will bring science into a very different area than the manned Artemis lunar missions, allowing for valuable context. (The astronauts will instead work in the South Pole region on the near side of the Moon.)
“Understanding geophysical activity on the far side of the moon will give us a deeper understanding of our solar system, and provide information to help us prepare for missions by Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface,” Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA sciences and Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a statement.
CLPS is an agency program that aims to study the history and environment of the Moon using specially developed landers and rovers that carry experiments and equipment on and on the lunar surface.
Draper’s design is based on work by a US subsidiary of Tokyo-based ispace, which unveiled a Class 2 lunar lander in 2021. To stay in touch with Earth, Draper statement (Opens in a new tab) He said the company plans to contract with Blue Canyon Technologies for two satellites that will be deployed just before landing.
The statement added that Advanced Space, operator of the CAPSTONE lunar mission currently making its way to the moon, “will support the team in mission planning and satellite operations.”
The Draper lunar science payloads, selected in 2019 and 2021, will carry three beams to explore the Schrödinger crater.
One package is Farside Seismic Suite (FSS), which will carry two lunar seismometers — allowing scientists to see how often the far side has been hit by small meteorites.
The Moon’s Materials and Internal Temperature Collection (LITMS) will study how the interior of the Moon can conduct heat and electricity, while the Lunar Electromagnetic Experiment (LuSEE) will search for the electrostatic properties behind the strange “dancing dust” on the Moon’s surface. LuSEE will also study how the solar wind, or the continuous flow of charged particles from the Sun, interacts with the Moon’s surface and magnetic fields, among other investigations.
Artemis seeks to land humans on the moon no later than 2025 to perform a scientific crew. The software’s first unmanned test mission, Artemis 1, may launch as soon as August 29 as the team continues to work through missions from a “rehearsal” launch test earlier in the year.